A renowned economist, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, has urged South-East traders to focus more on export trade through agriculture and agroallied products. Ohuabunwa, who is the former Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha, Anambra, yesterday. The economist was speaking against the backdrop of South-East traders engaging mostly in import trade.
He predicted that the present economic downturn would affect import trade as well as traders, who depend on importation of goods since the country had less foreign currency reserve and the instability in the value of the naira.
“Presently, the much cherished import trade, which most of our Igbo brothers are into, will not flourish since the global oil export is not thriving well as it should. “And you and I understand how much we rely on oil export in this country for our economic well-being and foreign exchange earnings.
“So, I would rather advice our people in the South-East to concentrate on export form of trading rather than the present import trade everyone is into. “We have enough to export, if we key into the export trade. “Today, as I speak, Nigeria has not met its global palm oil demand; and we have arable land and suitable weather to be the world’s largest exporter of palm oil and all its derivative items.
“What of cashew nuts, ginger, kola, bitter kola, exotic vegetables for cooking soup delicacies, cassava flour and chips, breadfruit etc. “We have a lot to give to the world when we put our house together and produce these cash crops to World standard and specification.’’ The economist said closing the foreign exchange window for some certain import goods would affect the markets in the South-East.
According to him, most markets might lose their zeal and vibrancy within 10 years since the foreign exchange for the import will not be there. “As well, there is a changing pattern of people wanting to buy from super-markets and departmental stores rather than the open and crowded markets. “Again, the on-line system of buying and selling is gradually gaining momentum too,’’ he noted.
The NESG is the gathering of first class Nigerian business groups, economists and academics for the purpose of economic enhancement and creation of enduring economic vision for Nigeria.