Tayo Busayo, Abuja

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc ranked No. 1 in export banking among Nigeria’s deposit money banks (DMBs) for three consecutive years as at FY 2021 when it facilitated $1.34 billion non-oil export for that year alone. This was 31 percent of total non-oil export volume for 2021 making it the highest since 2019.

This comes on the heels of the bank’s robust export financing scheme designed to boost local productivity and diversify the sources of foreign exchange earnings.

This was disclosed by the bank’s Deputy Managing Director (DMD), UBA, Muyiwa Akinyemi, at the recently concluded annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICA) held in Lagos with the theme, “Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings”.

In his presentation titled, ‘Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings – UBA Perspective’, Akinyemi shared some key interventions that UBA had launched to facilitate domestic export in line with the diversification drive of the Nigerian economy.

Akintyemi who noted that the bank had embarked on practical steps to speed up its export financing scheme in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) RT 200 FX scheme said UBA, unlike some of its foot-dragging peers, embraced the export financing initiative with unusual commitment and speed amid rising headwinds.

These include a $200 million non-oil export trade financing programme developed by the bank to bridge working capital requirements of SMEs/commercial exporters at concessionary interest rate.

He said that the bank had also developed a favourable collateral structure and provided project and structured trade financing towards enhancing export capacities of manufacturing organisations.

He said that top 200 non-oil exporters controlled over 95%/US$4.2 billion of the industry volume in 2021 noting that UBA facilitated $1.34billion/31% in non-oil export volume in 2021 FY, making UBA No.1 export bank in Nigeria and No. 1 export bank for three years running.

Akinyemi itemised the following as the key activities the bank embarked upon to facilitate domestic export drive.

These include US$200 million Non-oil export trade financing programme to bridge working capital requirements of SME/commercial exporters at concessionary interest rate and favourable collateral structure, and Provision of project & structured trade financing to enhance export capacities of manufacturing as well as commodity aggregators.

Others are Dedicated export desks and an export manager for our business to lead the charge of our export business arrangements and UBA Afritrade – to facilitate regional trade and settlements that start and end within the UBA ecosystem across Africa.

Also included are “Strong Partnerships with Export focused Agencies in Nigeria CBN/NEPC/NIRSAL” and “Pilot bank to AfCFTA/PAPSS to facilitate Regional Trade payments across Africa, commencing in 5 Countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, S/Leone and Liberia).

“Creating Market Access for exporters across our 23 other Countries in Africa, USA, Europe & UAE”, the bank boss stated.

Explaining further, the DMD claimed that UBA is a “Leading Partner Bank on CBN RT 200 program across the 5 pillars centred on Operational Efficiency as it pursues Robust IT platform to support registration of NXPs, payment of duties and associated levies.

“Treasury Products & solutions for Exporters, Direct correspondent banking relationships within the UBA network and Collaboration with various Export Associations to advance their capabilities & provision of Financial Advisory amongst others” are also listed on the bank’s avenues of promoting domestic export drive through sustained earnings.

Akinyemi listed insecurity across the country, including industrial areas; dearth of skilled manpower, low export capacity, high cost of transportation and inadequate access to funds/high interest rate on commercial bank loans as among the challenges of boosting domestic export drive.

Others are the absence of an official framework for distribution of export products, dilapidated road networks, inadequate functional rail system, high cost of electricity in the face of inadequate supply, over-regulation and duplication of roles by Government agencies and high cost of technology.