Abuja – The Board of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) recently reconstituted by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, has been inaugurated by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) and Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with a charge to the Bank to further boost regional trade in West Africa.
Speaking at the Board inauguration in Abuja on Friday August 23, 2013, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala noted that the Jonathan Administration remains committed to the task of transforming the Nigerian economy and expanding regional trade through the incorporation of the West African economic zone and declared that NEXIM is pivotal to achieving this vision. According to her, “…NEXIM Bank is a very important part of our finance complex. This a Bank that was set up to support import and export trade within the country. We are happy to say that it’s proven its worth; been performing its functions…but, there are a lot of expectations of this bank. Government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has embarked on a path of transforming the economy and has been trying to work with our private sector to expand trade, particularly regional trade…and NEXIM has so far supported this vision…we can only encourage and support them to keep up their good work…”
Nigeria Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The CME reminded the gathering that Nigeria’s economy is 55 per cent of the regional economy which implies that the country’s economic structures have to be well primed and poised to take charge of affairs and pull commensurate weight in the sub region. The platform for this is for the Government to support the private sector to trade within the region and beyond.
In this regard, the Honourable Minister rehashed that NEXIM Bank is critical to Nigeria’s bid to become the powerhouse within the West Africa sub-region and Africa. She particularly lauded the initiative of the Roberts Orya-led management, stating that she “…is proud of the Bank because it’s going in to some very innovative areas, like shipping along the coast, entering into partnerships with many institutions, like the African Development Bank, Islamic Bank, etc.
Closing her remarks the CME charged members to stand up to the new challenge as the Federal Government expects them to bring their diverse experience to bear in transforming the bank into an instrument of trade facilitation.
The Honourable Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama, who upon the dissolution of the Board in 2011, assumed direct supervision of its affairs, used the occasion to give an account of his stewardship to the new Board and members of the Nigerian public. He categorically declared that NEXIM Bank has done very well to meet the expectations of its major Shareholders, the Federal Government and the general public. He attributed this to the professionalism of the Bank’s staff. According to him, “They have done well and this is something I would say is a credit to the present management and the staff because just in the last two to three years, they have turned the Bank from a loss-making to a profit-making institution… Last year was the third year in a row that the bank was posting profit. Not only did we post profit, we also declared dividends…the first time in the history of the bank. This is a good report card for the present management, and also good news for the incoming Board to know that they have people who can really deliver.” He assured the new Board that they are coming in to work with a clean balance sheet and that it is time that the Bank was rated, and encouraged the new management to invite Agusto & Co to come and give the Bank a local rating as that will go a long way in as a way to raising funds.
The Minister of State went further to declare his satisfaction and pride that the Bank has been taken closer to Nigerians. “Hitherto, it had remained a city Bank. We have it in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Calabar. But, by and large only those who stay in the city know the existence and do business with the Bank. Congratulating the Roberts Orya-led management, he stated, “I am proud to say that we have about seven agencies in Yenogoa, Akure, Ishiagu, Damaturu, Yola, Gusau and Makurdi. These are the agencies that would ensure that every nook and cranny of Nigeria have customers that do business with the bank…”
Dr. Yerima affirmed that NEXIM now has relationships with international credit institutions which have assisted greatly to broaden the scope of the credit offering; to guarantee credit for both export and import as well as credit insurance. Specifically, the Bank Shareholders are happy that the Bank has symbiotic agreements with EXIM Bank of India, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and other technical collaborations and budding relations with TurkExim, USEXIM, Export Development Canada (EDC) etc. The agreement with the Islamic Development Bank has been signed and the product is being offered now to broaden the income base of the Bank.
Based on Mr. President’s recommendation, NEXIM is the foremost DFI in Nigeria to support the creative and entertainment industry in Nigeria. The Bank is currently arranging a credit facility with the EXIM Bank of India. He stressed that it is important to note that even before that memorandum was signed, NEXIM had already injected more than N850m into that sector. One of such facilities was a N300million in Kaduna for an amphitheater to help promote Nigerian films to fully empower the practitioners and the value-chain and save the industry, which is adjudged to be the third biggest in the world from piracy.
On the ECOWAS Trade Support Facility, there are two companies that the Bank is discussing with to provide facility to establish a shipping line that would go from city to city along the West African coast’ This is an addition to the facilities being given to transporters to enhance movement of goods across the borders, namely Chad, Cameroun and Benin Republic.
Presently, there are some initiatives in progress namely, the micro-business development to ensure that those people who have small businesses can get facilities to develop them and the issue of capitalization. However, the Minister said, the Bank has to reappraise its funding structure, and seek out more avenues for raise money or float a bond. Citing AFREXIM as a best practice, the Minister encouraged NEXIM to further explore the option of raising money from the international market and not solely rely on Shareholders equity contribution.
Ending his remarks, Dr. Yerima promised to work towards ensuring that, going forward, NEXIM Board is exempted from sudden dissolution before the members serve out their tenure, just as other parastatals under his supervision such as the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), among others. This is for the simple reason that such dissolution breeds instability which is not a good for the Bank’s local and international standing.
Alhaji Suleiman Barau, OON, brought the message of the new Board Chairman and the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. (Mrs) Sarah Alade, OON, Dr. Sarah Alade, with a pledge that the new Board members would do their best to improve the existing fortunes of the Bank, knowing full well that much is expected of them. He assured the Coordinating Minister that the new Board will leave no stone unturned to ensuring that the expectations of Nigerians and Mr. President are met. He promised that the new Board will work to support the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President and the Vision to emerge as the top 20 economies of the world by the 2020.
According to him, “NEXIM will definitely play a key role in developing a vibrant economy, vibrant financial system that would help the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President and the vision 2020….The new Board will work to transform NEXIM to become like AFREXIM, US EXIM bank, and seek sustainable sources for funding the operations of the Bank from the market.” In line with President Jonathan’s affirmative action on 35 per cent on women representation in governance, Dr. Sarah Alade, would be the first woman to serve as Chairman, NEXIM Board of Directors since the inception of the Bank in 1991
Other members of the reconstituted NEXIM Board are Mr. Musa Batari, Director, Trade and Exchange, CBN; Mr. Kalli Zaji, Director, Home Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance; and Mallam Ajiya Mahia, Director, Trade Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. Also on the Board are Alhaji Mohammed I. Babangida, representing private sector interest; Chief (Barr.) Peter Nwaoboshi, also representing private sector interest; Mr. Roberts U. Orya, Managing Director/CEO, NEXIM; Bashir M. Wali, Executive Director, Corporate Services, NEXIM; and Folake I Oke, Executive Director, Business Development, NEXIM.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).
About NEXIM Bank
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (http://neximbank.com.ng) was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promoting the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee & export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services etc.
In pursuit of its mandate of promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sector, the Bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals and Services (Tourism, Transportation and Entertainment) industries.