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RT 200 FX: Emefiele’s Scorecard Signals Optimism For FX Inflow

THEWILL APP ADS 2

The milestone attained in the implementation of the Race-To-$200 billion (RT 200) programme points to the success story ahead as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensifies efforts towards realising the objective.

The programme is aimed at raising $200 billion FX earnings through non-oil proceeds over the next three to five years as the exporters are incentivized to repatriate their export proceeds to boost foreign exchange supply.

Addressing the audience at the second edition of the RT200 Export Summit held at Eko Hotels, Lagos, on November 29, 2022, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed that a total of $4.987 billion had been repatriated into the country in 2022 by non-oil exporters. This figure is 56.4 percent higher than the $3.19 billion repatriated in 2021.

The programme includes a Non-Oil Exports Proceeds Repatriation Rebate Scheme, which incentivises exporters in the non-oil sector to repatriate and sell export proceeds in the official FX market. Under the scheme, CBN pays rebate of N65 for every dollar repatriated and sold in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window to authorised dealer banks for third party use. The CBN also pays rebate of N35 for every dollar repatriated and sold into I&E for own use for eligible transactions only, provided the spread is not more than 10 kobo.

Emefiele said CBN has paid out a total sum of N81 billion to exporters in 2022 as rebates for repatriating their export proceeds in line with the RT 200 FX policy. The rebate policy was borne out of the need to develop new strategies aimed at earning more suitable and sustainable inflows of forex in order to insulate the Nigerian economy from shocks and FX shortages.

With this milestone, Emefiele said that a total of $4.987 billion will have been repatriated into the country by non-oil exporters in 2022 higher than the $3.19 billion repatriated in 2021.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, he said only $1.966 billion qualified for the rebate programme, and that only $1.559 billion was sold at the I & E window or for own use.

“The CBN has also paid out about N81 billion in rebates to hard-working Nigerian exporters. This is a testament to the resolve of the CBN to ensure quick acceleration of the export value chain in the country”, he said.

The transparency and success of the scheme in its nine months of operation has attracted the interest of exporters in other areas who wish to be included in the scheme as Emefiele disclosed at the event.

He said, “We are already getting feedback from Banks of interest by exporters in adding value to the products they export to allow them to benefit from the program. We are happy that this is happening, and we encourage more exporters to find ways to add value to their exports so that they can benefit not only from the scheme but get better value for their exports.”

From Emefiele’s speech, it was fulfilling that an aspect of the challenges against export promotion has been tackled, that is inadequate processes and poor quality standards that make Nigerian exports unattractive. The attention now paid to the development of processes and infrastructure for improving trade performance is commendable, as the CBN boss confirmed that “we have recorded some achievements in automation and digitization of the trade processes.”

“As of today, SONCAP, NAFDAC, and Marine insurance certificates are automated and fully integrated with the Trade Monitoring System. In addition, we are working with the Quarantine Service to integrate their permits and certificates into the system, and very soon, the NPA eCall Up System will also be integrated.

Other enhancements that have been done with eNXP include integration with SGD and the development of the PIA portal aimed at digitising the process of issuing Clean Certificates of Inspection (CCIs) by PIAs and ease of scheduling of inspection by exporters. According to Emefiele, all these were made possible because of the interest shown and the commitment made by the stakeholders towards the success of the programme.

It was a fallout of the challenge thrown up by Emefiele at the first summit held on June 16, 2022 at the same venue when he stressed that the meeting must be a problem-solving one.

At that earlier event, Emefiele said “I am delighted to see that many of the agencies, businesspeople, financiers, and practitioners in the non-oil export space in Nigeria are present here. While I warmly welcome you all to this event, my hope is that this would be a problem-solving gathering.

“A summit that will guarantee that for every complaint, problem, issue, challenge or difficulty that is presented or identified, there will be one or several agencies or practitioners that can articulate options for solving that problem. I strongly believe that the ideas harnessed from this maiden summit would be invaluable in helping us reach our ultimate goal of US$200 billion in non-oil exports over the medium term.”

The RT200 FX programme has five components: The key anchors are Value-Adding Exports Facility; Non-Oil Commodities Expansion Facility; Non-Oil FX Rebate Scheme; Dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal and Biannual Non-Oil Export Summit.

A commodity exporter, Johnson Kelechi, said the determination of the CBN Governor in driving the RT 200 programme leaves no room for a guesswork. He told this newspaper that convening the biannual summit within 166 days of the introduction of the scheme is a conviction that the scheme is destined to succeed, notwithstanding the skepticism that has trailed it among the stakeholders.

The non-oil sector has witnessed significant growth in recent times as the oil sector declines. According to the National Bureau of Statistics Q3 2022 GDP report, the sector grew by 4.27 percent in real terms during the reference quarter (Q3 2022). This rate was lower by 1.18\percent points compared to the rate recorded in the same quarter of 2021 and 0.50 percent points lower than the second quarter of 2022.

The report showed that the sector was driven in the third quarter of 2022 mainly by Information and Communication (Telecommunication); Trade; Transportation (Road Transport); Financial and Insurance (Financial Institutions); Agriculture (Crop Production) and Real Estate, accounting for positive GDP growth. In real terms, the non-Oil sector contributed 94.34 percent to the nation’s GDP in the third quarter of 2022, higher than the share recorded in the third quarter of 2021 which was 92.51 percent and higher than the second quarter of 2022 recorded as 93.67 percent.

The government has been battling challenges at the nation’s ports which have hindered efficient export processes. This prompted the introduction of dedicated ports under the RT 200 programme. The construction and establishment of a dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal, a third anchor of the RT 200 Programme, is designed in recognition of the perennial problems of port congestion, which exporters cited as a major impediment to improved operations and foreign exchange earnings.