Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief.
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, gave out N10.7 billion loan to Nigerian exporters in the 2010 fiscal year, the Managing Director, MD, Mr. Roberts Orya, disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Monday, adding that his team has returned the 20-year old institution to the path of profitability, after a long period of posting losses.
Mr. Orya who was appointed in 2009 disclosed that his administration’s first operational year 2010 saw the bank posting a N216.75 million profit, as against a N 4.6 billion loss the previous year.
According to him, “when I was appointed, I came to meet a bank that was facing very many challenges, especially in terms of a high level of non-performing loans and poor corporate governance but we have completely turned around the bank.
“In 2009 the bank recorded a N4.6 billion loss but I am glad to inform you that we have been able to return the bank to the path of profitability. When we came in, we took steps to provide for all the non-performing loans so that whatever profit we make can really reflect appropriately.”
The MD said that his team has redefined the vision and mission of NEXIM with a view to making it alive to the objectives for which it was established in 1991.
He explained that under a five-year strategic plan of the bank, it has redefined its market to target the West African Sub-region as its traditional market before which would be deepened and fully saturated before venturing to other regions of the world.
“When we came in 2009, we realized from our study that other EXIM banks of the world first had their regional markets as their traditional markets before moving to other regions of the world, which was not the case with NEXIM which had American and European markets as it traditional markets. We had to reverse this.
“We even had to deepen the payment system in the sub-region in order to make it more effective and trade friendly, such that our people would no longer need to travel with cash when they go to seel their goods in Benin Republic or any other country in the sub-region”, he said.
Sectors the bank would now concentrate on, he said include agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, and services, especially, transportation and entertainment.
Mr. Orya said the shareholders of the bank: Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated, have been very supportive of his management and assured that his team would take the bank to a level where it would no longer need to ask for money funding from its owners.
He said the N10 .7 billion loan granted to exporters in 2010 generated about 3, 500 jobs, with the bank looking forward to recording annual earnings of about $148.5 million.
On the huge non-performing loans his management inherited, the MD said he has turned the heat on debtors and that about N540 million was recovered from the bank’s debtors last year.
He said that the bank would continue to chase its debtors until it fully recovered the debts in order to be able to extend the bank’s facilities to other deserving Nigerian businesses.