Export: How RT200  Boosts Nigeria’s economy

By Stephen Ubanna

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, who retired to Daura, his home town in the north western state of Katsina , which is about eight Kilometers to Niamey, Capital ,of Niger Republic, RT200,  scheme  meant  to raise the conscious of Nigerian export-oriented companies  and other categories of  exporters appear to have made appreciable impact on the economy over the last one year.

The Value News findings shows that  the apex bank  has  made a disbursement of  N144 billion to  the  Nigeria exporters between January and April, 2023, barely one month before  Bola Ahmed Tinubu , a former governor of Lagos state governor on the platform of the All Progressive congress, APC,  was sworn in by Justice Olukayode Ariwola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, as the  President and Commander –In-Chief , C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces, to encourage the export –oriented companies to put more efforts in their export drive.

 Godwin Emefiele Emefiele, a former governor of the CBN, who is being investigated by the Department of State Security, DSS, at the instance of the Lagos state born Nigerian President was said to have supervised the disbursement of the funds to the Nigerian export –oriented Companies and other non- oil exporters.

Informed sources told The  Value News that the money was allegedly  disbursed to the  exporters  of   semi and finished,  goods wholly  or partly  processed and manufactured  in Nigeria that are permissible  and excluded  under the export prohibition  list   as  rebates  in the life  of the   RT200  non – oil rebate scheme. The source had revealed that at the last quarter of 2022, the bank   had    paid the sum of N25.04 billion to the, exporters as each exporter was said to have receive N3.23 billion to boost their export trade.  

PrFormer President Buhari: Implemented RT 200,Scheme

  The Katsina born Nigerian President was said to have introduced the scheme as a way ‘’ to incentivize the exporters in the non-oil sector of the economy and   ‘’to encourage repatriation and sale of their export proceeds into the CBN, forex   market.

 The  scheme was said to have been  anchored   on a five –point agenda  with a view to raising  $200 billion  in forex earnings  in the next five years   by developing new strategies  that will enhance  the country’s forex inflow,  diversify sources of the forex inflow,  increase  the level of  non-oil exports, ensure the stability  and sustainability  of the forex inflows  and equally  support the   export-oriented companies to expand their export operations and capabilities.

 Going by the  payment structure approved  for the scheme  of the RT 200 scheme by the then Federal Executive Council, FEC, under the chairmanship of Buhari, the then Nigerian President,  the CBN, was mandated to pay  N65.00,  for every North American country of the United States, US, $1,  repatriated  and sold   at the investors’ and Exporters ‘ window for third party utilization  and N35.00   for every US , $1  repatriated and sold  for the exporters’ own use  on eligible transactions   only .

On May 10, 2023, barely 19, days for the Buhari’s Administration to wind up and for Tinubu , to step in,  O.S Nnaji, the apex bank Director of  Trade and Foreign Exchange Department , at the instance of Emefiele   had issued a statement that ‘’exporters of raw  and unprocessed items,  will be paid  a rebate of N25.00,  for every dollar of non-oil  export proceeds sold to third parties  at the importers and exporters window while N15.00 will paid   for every  US $1  repatriated  and sold  on the investor’ and exporters’ window    for own use  .  The bank was said to have backdated the payment to April 1, 2023. The CBN Director  had said that’’ the rebate was part  of  the benefits  under  the non-oil  export proceeds  repatriation  rebate scheme’’, urging dealers  ‘’to ensure strict compliance  to the rebate’’.

Emefiele: Former CBN Governor, Implemented RT200 Scheme

  The payments, according to an informed source to the export oriented Companies on a quarterly basis. It was not surprising why N144 billion, was paid to the benefiting  export-oriented  companies in the first quarter of 2023, for he alleged  export  of  Ginger, Cocoa butter,  Rubber, Palm Kernel oil,  Textiles  and garments,  Gallstone , Sesame  seed, Garlic and Yam  tubers.

Other items allegedly exported by the companies to earn forex sold in the CBN, investors and exporters  window  as well as the importers’ window included     Charcoal, Cotton, Cassava floor, Cashew Nuts, Honey, Shrimps, Snail, Chili Pepper,  Fruit juice, Poultry, Cosmetics, soap, wigs and hair attachments to earn forex and repatriate into the country forex market .

The government may not have helped matters for the exporters  as it was said to have prohibited the export  of  rice, cement, magerine, palm kerne/palm oil products,   vegetable oils,  meat and processed meat products,  Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey , private air –planes and jets, wheel barrows, roofing sheets,  Headpans,  Metal boxes and containers and Enamelware by the  interested export-orientate companies as recommended by the  CBN, under the leadership of Emefiele.

Other  processed and manufacture items prohibited  by the Nigerian government for export   included  steel drums,  steel pipes, Iron rods and reinforcing bard,  Wire mesh, steel nails, security and razor wine, Wood particles board  woven fabrics clothes,  plastic and rubber products,  polypropylene  granules, cellophane wrappers, soap and panels,  wooden door, toothpicks, glass and glassware,  Kitchen utensils  and tableware.This is in addition  to tiles-vitrified and ceramics, soap and cosmetics,  tomatoes and tomatoes pates .  

Until his arrest and detention by the DSS,  the former CBN, governor,  who had described the RT  200 Programme,  as a huge success  had said that a total of $1.7 billion  was repatriated  between January and May, this year , noting that  $790 million  was sold at the Investors and Exporters window.

According to the embattled immediate past governor of the apex bank, the balance of the repatriated US dollar, which run into millions, by the exporters has ‘’remained in the exporters’ domiciliary accounts’’. An insider told The Magazine that Nigerian exporters before now sold their dollar proceeds at the Parallel market.

Indeed, the success of the RT 200 scheme, over the last one and half years, may have informed why Emefiele,  had given his words that that the CBN,  under his Leadership ,  would continue  ‘’to engage  the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC,  to increase the volume of the country’s non-oil exports, believed to be  the most  sustainable  source  of forex  to any country’’, particular, the US and the Asian country of China.

This may have informed why he has called the enactment of unconventional, innovative m supportive and complementary microeconomic policy actions that are inclined toward a market-based financing system to tackle the economic challenges of the country but that was how far he could.

Recall that when he was still calling the shot at the CBN, he had said that the collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee identified RT200scheme and export promotion in general is a critical tool for attaining sustainable and stable external balance and safeguarding the value of the local currency in both the official and parallel forex market.

During is electioneering Campaign , incumbent President Tinubu,  had promised that if elected as the next President of Nigeria,  after the February 25, 2023, Presidential election,  his Administration  would pay more  attention to  export of   locally processed and  manufactured goods  and import less  in order  to earn more foreign  exchange  to strengthen the naira.

 This may have informed why he has promised to industrialise the south east of Abia to make it one of the major exporters of manufactured goods in Nigeria. The former Lagos state governor who had described the popular Aba market in the state, as one of the largest in the west African sub-region, had said  that he sees the  Aba  becoming a major exporter  of  all  types  of manufactured  goods to Asia, north and south America  , including Europe.

Many believe that if he could fulfill his promise to promote export of locally processed and manufactured goods,   Nigeria’s economy would be on the path of growth as the demand for forex for importation of foregn goods would drop considerably.        

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