The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, Tuesday called for the establishment of a Strategic Committee which will be saddled with the task of improving or boosting export trade in the country.
Bello said such committee was very crucial as part of the measures to earn more foreign exchange from the development of export potentials in the country.
He argued that the experience of the current ravaging coronavirus pandemic was such that promoting export trade should be the focus of the country.
Speaking on the occasion of the presentation of COVID-19 kit to representatives of maritime journalists in the Council’s Lagos headoffice, he said Nigeria cannot continue to be import dependent because of the negative implications, adding that it would have been a disaster if the federal government had not insisted on local rice production that Nigerians are now enjoying.
According to him, the policy of the federal government on having local rice has so far remained a blessing at this time of coronavirus pandemic as Asian rice exporters at such a critical pandemic time would have first settled their own local food need before opening the doors to importing countries.
He said if the country had depended on rice importation, Nigeria would have had issues finding enough of the grains during next Christmas celebration because of COVID-19.
Bello explained that the Strategic Committee for export should include the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), among others, who will champion infrastructure upgrade to boost such scheme.
According to him, the Committee will have to do everything to promote exports by removing any impediment on the way so that Nigeria will be seen as a big exporting nation in the same manner that the country is noted for import trade.
The advantage, he said, will be increased job opportunities, more businesses for Nigerian manufacturers and farmers.
Commending the CBN for the efforts it has made so far in promoting export trade, Bello however said they should continue in this drive for the best interest of the national economy.
On the presentation of the COVID-19 kit which includes face masks and hand sanitizers, Bello said the measure was in recognition of the place of maritime media in the sector’s economic development.
He said the Council took the decision to present the COVID-19 kit for the safety of maritime journalists who have continued to cover the sector at such a critical time.
He said NSC having distributed the same materials to the truckers, freight forwarders, and other stakeholders, the maritime media cannot be left out because of their critical role in the industry.