The federal government has commended the Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank’s enhancement of its Intra-African Trade Initiatives in readiness for commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
The commendation was at the recent formal inauguration of the newly appointed non-executive directors of the bank, Mallam Kabiru Hassan, and Mr. Ede O. Dafinone, in Abuja by Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
She made the commendation in view of the report of the bank’s current strategic framework for expansion of non-oil sector and diversification of the economy, and its achievements in operational performance heralding a return to profitability and reduction in non-performing loans.
On the bank, Mrs. Ahmed explained that it was established by Act No 38 of 1991 as an export credit agency with share capital held equally by the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Among several functions, the bank is responsible for the provision of export credit guarantee and export credit insurance facilities to its clients as well as the provision of credit in local currency to its clients in support of export.
“Therefore, the overriding objective of the government in setting up NEXIM Bank is the desire to make the bank a significant player in the Nigerian non-oil export sector and other economic revitalisation programmes such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP).
She also noted that the achievements by the bank would not have been possible but for a crop of dedicated and focused management staff led by the Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr. Abba Bello.
Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for finding the appointees worthy to serve on the board of NEXIM, she said in her address that the two appointees will be joining the board with diverse private sector backgrounds.
According to her, Mallam Kabiru Hassan has been in the business of commodity sourcing, trading and distribution since 2012, after a short stint with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, while Mr. Ede O. Dafinone is also highly experienced on issues relating to export and import.
“He is the current Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group as well as member, National Council of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, to mention but a few of the Associations he belongs,” she said.
Charging the two, she stated: “I have no doubt that your selection and subsequent appointments were based on your track record of achievements. I dare say, NEXIM Bank has been given more impetus to succeed in achieving its mandates. As you are being inaugurated today, I charge you to bring your vast wealth of experience garnered in the private sector to bear in the operations of NEXIM, while pledging the Ministry’s continued support to NEXIM in the discharge of its mandates.
Noting, she said: “The progress on the performance of the bank on the assigned ministerial mandates as reported at the Inaugural Steering Committee Meeting held on Monday, 26th April, 2021.
In her words: “With the reinvigoration of the board with new members, the expectation is that the bank will relentlessly pursue its assigned deliverables which I hereby re-emphasised for the benefits of the new members: Enhance funding intervention to boost productivity and exports from critical sectors (agriculture, manufacturing and services); and promote and attract private sector investments in maritime logistics infrastructure.
“Let me also at this point express the Ministry’s appreciation to Mr. Adesina Adegbenro and Hajiya Ramatu whose tenure on the board expired on 28th December, 2020, after spending the stipulated three-year term,” Mrs. Ahmed further said.
Mr. Abba Bello, the managing director of the bank, thanked the federal government for appointing professionals with vast knowledge in the industry, optimistically believing that with their vast experience, they will add value to NEXIM.
He noted that NEXIM has enjoyed tremendous support from the Honourable Minister and the Ministry, and is, therefore, assured of the Minister’s continued support.
He pledged that, though there is an enormous task of diversification, the management and board of the bank will do their utmost to justify the confidence of government in them. He, therefore, called on the appointees to bring their wealth of experience to bear.
Mr. Aliyu Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in his remarks welcoming everyone at the inauguration, noted that the event has been a customary function of the ministry, which performs oversight function on the bank.
“The occasion signifies the formal assumption of office and affords an opportunity for attention to be drawn to key issues of interest and concern, and to also integrate the non-executive directors into the larger finance family.