While Nigerians grumble over the increase in exchange rates, Ayodeji Ake presents the advocacy of business experts on patronage of locally produced goods to address import dependency putting an end to escalating issues of low foreign exchange
Over the years, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged Nigerians to embrace homemade products to boost Nigeria’s economy and to save Naira from continuous depreciation in the parallel market.
According to reported statistics, Nigeria’s capital inflows plummeted to a four-year low of $9.66 billion in 2020, sloped to $6.7 billion in 2021. Nigeria’s international trade balance for 2021 hit a deficit of N1.94 trillion, the largest on record.
Nigeria’s exports climbed 51 per cent to N18.91 trillion in 2021, up from N12.52 trillion of the year before. However, the increase in export proceeds was not enough to offset the 64.1 per cent increase in import bills, which totalled N20.84 trillion.
As a result of the FX Outflows, a $5.26 billion negative balance of payment was made in 2021, putting even more pressure on the local currency and necessitating the use of the external reserve.
The Deputy Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Sam Okogbue, who represented the apex bank at a business function, recently, advised that no country can thrive under the influence of import dependency, thus, charged Nigerians to look inward and adopt locally made products to foster economic development.
“No successful economy thrives on the promotion of imported products over the exportation of locally manufactured products. During the COVID-19 pandemic, rice was the most single popular component of our palliatives. This is a result of the CBN’s Anchor Borrower’s programme for rice farmers,” Okogbue was quoted.
Also addressing the issue, the Managing Director, Hantec Africa Limited, Mr. Mike Fowope, urged Nigerians to embrace locally produced goods to boost the economy.
“In solving FX issues, everybody must embrace locally produced goods. I can say that most of us use foreign goods. So if we can support our locally produced goods, it will reduce the pressure on the forex,” he said.
As Hantec Markets way of reducing the burden of unemployment and also encouraging Nigerian youths to be financial contributors, the 32nd Hantec Markets Empowerment Programme themed “Digital Wealth Creation ”, held recently in Lagos, attended by over a thousand youths, Fowope boasted of financial breakthroughs.
He said: “Basically, for today’s occasion, we are celebrating our 32nd year of empowering people, and secondly, we are using the opportunity to educate people about the opportunities in the international market.
“The international market is a great opportunity for Nigerian youths. The truth remains that the government may not provide everybody with the employment opportunity that everybody wants and this is a better opportunity for Nigerians to learn how to trade and make earnings without government intervention.
“The experts came from the UK and Dubai to support this programme and we also want people to know that the international market is one regardless of wherever you are and they are here to support us. They are also here to share with us the new things that are ongoing in the global financial market in the world”.
The programme also saw lucky winners of $250 to start their trading courtesy of Hantec Markets.
“Some do not have the financial capacity to trade but there are opportunities. For instance, in this programme, some will go away with $250 each courtesy, of Hantec Market, to start their trading career. We do that as part of our empowerment plans for Nigerians.
“Talking about the current situation in Nigeria and how it is affecting the trading market, the truth is that Nigerian FX does not support this kind of business but what we do is to seek to fit our currency and I can say that it doesn’t have any negative impact on the Nigerian reserve,” he said.
When asked about his current position going forward to solve the FX issues on the ground, Fowope said: “A company has been for 32 years and maintains its business and doing very well, it means they are doing the right thing that’s what we are for.
“We are empowering people. This is just a seminar just to open people’s eyes to the opportunities in the financial market and after the seminar, whoever is interested would come to our office where we will teach and mentor them for free. We have been doing that since we came to Nigeria 10 years ago. Some will win some dollars today which they can use to start their trading career. We are also by doing this taking people off the unemployment market.”
The Chief Commercial Officer, Hantec Markets Limited, Hayel Abu-Hamdan, in the same vein, noted the organisation has opened to Nigerians a lot of opportunities and some have maximised the opportunity and the organization still looks forward to helping Nigerians.
“We have seen so many opportunities in the market. We have been training people on making money in the rising market, grabbing opportunities, and doubling the opportunities. Before you risk money, before you encourage anyone to come into the system, such a person needs to practice for perfection. When you make mistakes, you learn from them and you don’t repeat the mistakes which gives you more chances to make money.”
When asked about the financial market in Nigeria and assessing Nigeria’s economy, Abu-Hamdan said, Nigeria has grown in terms of a financial breakthrough, but there are factors accepting countries of the world including the Russia and Ukraine crisis that has caused a lot of business setbacks.
“The audience in Nigerians has grown and for the past 32 years, most of our audience has ever come from Nigeria. So we still want everybody to see that the opportunity is there.
“For you, can you assess the economy of Nigeria? Nigeria is the heartbeat of Africa and we all know that. The whole world is going through a rough time, also talking about the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and Russia which is also affecting the global market. I believe Nigeria will be a better place from time to time,” he said.