Banker To FG: Leverage Creative Industry To Boost Export Receipts

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Muyiwa Akinyemi, Deputy M-D, UBA

The Federal Government was at the weekend told that it should leverage the opportunities in the creative industry for sustainable export earnings.

Muyiwa Akinyemi, deputy managing director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, gave the advice on Saturday at the annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos.

Speaking at the conference was themed ‘Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings’, Akinyemi said the country’s creative industry was the second biggest growing industry in the world, spurred by the emerging digital trends in technology.

He added that the technology industry was a huge space Nigeria needed to take advantage of.

Said Akinyemi: “Historically, some of us grew up in Nigeria with the groundnut pyramids in Kano, cocoa houses in Ibadan and a few other places like that, but over time, when we discovered the black gold, we abandoned those our primary commodities.

“What I see happening now is that we are moving to the third revolution of exports, ‘japa syndrome’. So, that is knowledge export that is happening right now and not only is it happening in that space, but you also have a technology revolution as well.

“Innovation hub in Yaba portends a large pool of intelligent guys building things in the fintech and technology world that is not even recognised, but it’s a huge potential full of export business. We are in that technology space wherein Nigeria needs to take advantage of it”.

Akinyemi added that 200 exporters were responsible for 95 percent of the $4.2 billion the country earned from non-oil exports in 2021.

Noted he: “The $4.2 billion achieved in 2021 did not include informal exports largely in the wholesale trading in some sectors such as information technology, entertainment and solid minerals”.

Akinyemi, however, urged the government to consider the creative industry the same way it has focused on export, commodities and crude oil.

Said Akinyemi: “Most countries you go to in Africa today or globally when you talk about Nollywood, its second-biggest industry. Music- Wizkid, D’ banj, Burna boy, are all huge export earnings that we have not taken advantage of.

“Knowledge and creative skills are the third wave of export business we are seeing in Nigeria today. How are we supporting those young stars?

“It is not just to talk about them on Facebook or Instagram, it’s about how we harness those capacities and build it into an industry that will generate massive earnings for us”.

The UBA deputy managing director further commended the efforts of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) for what they are doing as well as incentives given by the Central Bank of Nigeria and a rebate scheme launched to boost export earnings.

He said the rebate scheme should be done from the fiscal perspective for economic growth and development.

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