To highlight and address challenges of the manufacturing and trade sectors in light of the COVID- 19 pandemic, Sterling Bank Plc held a webinar for customers in import/export businesses.
In a keynote address, Mr. Raheem Owodeyi, Executive Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Sterling Bank, told participants that COVID-19 has disrupted global logistics, leading to price fluctuations in commodities and drops in GDP and foreign reserves.
He explained that the situation has consequently made it a challenge for banks to support importers and exporters of goods and services in meeting their trade obligations to suppliers.
Owodeyi said those who go all out to obtain the foreign exchange (forex) outside the official channels tend to incur higher than required costs, and in a bid to reduce the constraints of its customers, the bank decided to put together the seminar to educate customers on how they can manage the changes created by the pandemic, dearth of forex and how they can source forex through the right channels.
In his paper entitled, “Export trade in Nigeria, Opportunities and Requirements,” Mr. Samuel Oyeyipo, Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), South West Regional Office, Lagos, said exporters engage in export business to earn forex, gain access to bigger markets and increase profit levels.
He explained that there are several opportunities in non-oil exports for leather, cashew, cocoa, rubber and manufactured products, among others as all these have potential to contribute to the nation’s non-oil forex earnings.
He also listed some of the major destinations for Nigerian exports as Europe, US, Asia, other parts of the African continent and the Middle East, adding that steps taken to export products include an export plan, decision on the product or service to export, business registration with appropriate regulatory bodies like CAC and NEPC, and opening of foreign currency domiciliary account to receive FX earnings.
Other requirements include adequate packaging and labelling of products for export, which must meet certain international standards of containment, protection and preservation.