The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Miss Hadiza Bala-Usman has disclosed that Nigerian ports handled 191 million metric tonnes of export cargo in 2019.

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Out of these, crude oil accounted for 78 per cent while non-oil cargo accounted for only 22 per cent.

She disclosed these at a recent BudgIT webinar tagged ‘Non-oil export: Disrupting Nigeria’s Growth Cycle.’

In the webinar, Bala-Usman expressed worry about the data, saying that against the backdrop of dwindling oil prices, it was not a good signal for the economy.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show the monetary value of the goods exported during the period.

According to the NBS, Nigeria shipped $53.6bn worth of goods around the globe in 2019.

Although this shipment amounts to an increase of 10.7 per cent since 2015 and a 1.3 per cent increase from 2018, it shows that Nigeria made $11.8bn from non-oil exports while $41.8bn came from crude oil exports during the period under review.

Bala-Usman said, “Nigeria’s crude shipment is tied to exportation and it contributes the highest revenue of the ports.”

She predicted that with the reduction in oil shipment and price, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the revenue of the government from the port was likely to dip by 75 per cent.

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Bala-Usman stated that it was time to increase the shipment of non-oil exports.

She said, “This underscores the importance of diversification of the economy through non-oil exports so that we can reverse this trend.

“There is a need to encourage local investors.  We are a large country of consumers; we need to increase local production. We need to make domestic investment a priority.”

Also speaking during the webinar, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Yewande Sadiku, said the pandemic may witness foreign direct investment into African countries fall by 30-40 per cent.

She agreed with Bala-Usman on the need to strengthen the local production base and increase non-oil export while also attracting more FDI.