Foreign trade knowledge vital to exporters, importers, says Sterling Bank - THE NATION
By Collins Nweze
Sterling Bank Plc has reiterated the need to educate exporters and importers of goods on how to manage the changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic in accessing foreign exchange for their businesses.
The bank made this known at a webinar for customers in the business of import/export of goods and services meant to highlight and address some of the challenges of the manufacturing and trade sectors of the economy in light of the pandemic.
In a keynote address, Executive Director, Operations/ Chief Operating Officer (COO), Sterling Bank, Raheem Owodeyi, told participants that COVID-19 has disrupted global logistics, leading to price fluctuations in commodities and drops in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and foreign reserves.
He also said the situation had consequently made it a challenge for banks to support importers and exporters of goods and services in meeting their trade obligations to suppliers.
Owodeyi said those who go out to obtain the foreign exchange (forex) outside of the official channels tend to incur higher than required costs, and in a bid to reduce the constraints of its customers, the bank decided to put together the seminar to educate customers on how they couldmanage the changes created by the pandemic, dearth of forex and how they could source forex through the right channels.
Also, Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Southwest Regional Office, Lagos, Samuel Oyeyipo, in his paper entitled: “Export trade in Nigeria, opportunities and requirements,” said exporters engage in export business to earn forex, gain access to bigger markets and increase profit levels.
He explained that there are several opportunities in non-oil exports for leather, cashew, cocoa, rubber and manufactured products, among others as these have the potential to contribute to the nation’s non-oil forex earnings.
He listed some of the major destinations for Nigerian exports as Europe, United States, Asia, other parts of the African continent and the Middle East, adding that steps taken to export products include an export plan, decision on the product or service to export, business registration with appropriate regulatory bodies, such as Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and opening of foreign currency domiciliary account to receive FX earnings.
Other requirements include adequate packaging and labelling of products for export, which must meet certain international standards of containment, protection and preservation.