The managing director of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr. Abba Bello, has disclosed that Nigeria loses up to $190 billion to the exportation of raw cocoa on yearly basis.
Bello said Nigeria is supposed to make $200 billion annually if the country has been exporting processed cocoa out of the country.
The NEXIM boss made the disclosure in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at the Southwest enlightenment and engagement forum for governors and exporters in the zone.
While regretting that the country has relied on oil as her major foreign exchange earner despite having about 44 commodities that are produced locally, Bello said there is the need to develop the nation’s processing capacity to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the huge market for cocoa products, estimated at about $200bn annually as against the current practice of exporting raw cocoa beans, whose global value is estimated at $10bn only.
According to him, the forum was conceived to sensitise policy makers, investors, exporters, and potential exporters to the need for increased focus on the non-oil export sector as a panacea for the underachievement of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “It is rather a paradox that despite our huge human and natural resource endowments, Nigeria remains a mono-product economy, with the crude oil sector contributing about 70 per cent of government revenue and about 90 per cent of export earnings.
“Too often, the country has been confronted with challenges arising from the downturn in the global oil market, manifesting in sharp drop in fiscal revenues, rapid depreciation of the Naira, unfavourable balance of payment position and high inflation amongst others, which ultimately leads to collapse of industries, high unemployment and increased poverty, as is currently being witnessed.
“Nigeria remains a major agrarian economy and one of the world’s highest producers of cash crops like Cocoa, Shea, Cashew, Cassava, Ginger and Soyabean, to mention a few. Nigeria has over 44 solid minerals in commercial quantities, found all over the country, largely unexploited.
In his remark, the Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the governors in the zone have registered a company that would help develop the export potentials in the zone.
Akeredolu informed that the state is always ready to partner any organisation that will assist in projecting the state economy.