By Babajide Komolafe

Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan Professor Anthony Ikpi has called for measures to check the decline in the nation’s export earnings, which dropped by N2 trillion in the first quarter of this year.

He spoke at a press conference on the forthcoming conference on “Creative – Innovative Financing Solutions for Sustainable Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Agribusinesses and Farms in Developing Economies.

The two day conference, scheduled to hold from August 28-29, will feature an array of private and public sector operators among which are: Mr. Tony Elumelu, MFR, Chairman, Board of Director, Heir Holding (HH) Founder, the Toney Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Christian Azubuike Oboh, Ph.D, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Others are Mr. Eshiobo Sam Shola , President, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, and  Hassan Usman, Acting Managing Director, Jaiz Bank PLC.

Ikpi noted that although Nigeria boasts of abundant natural resources that can make the country a force to reckon with in the global economy, a good number of these resources hardly translate to a high export income in a global competitive market where innovation and creative knowledge count.

He said  that the N2 trillion decline in exports earnings in the first quarter poses great danger to the country’s fiscal management  adding that the danger can however be averted if  government is  willing to work with knowledgeable and creative thinkers to re-grow the economy.

Citing developments in the global oil market, Ikpi said the possibility of the country losing its share of the crude oil market and revenue is real and imminent.

”In other words,  the potential/probable production lost will represent a loss in the country’s economic growth, employment-generating capacity, and lower tax/royalty revenue which will decrease net oil exports and lead to trade deficit.” he  said.

Citing the example of the franchising industry in Germany, which contributed E60.4 billion in 2012 fiscal year. Ikpi called for resolute measures to   grow the country’s agriculture sector, and franchising of other non-oil sectors to activate them to a sustainable level.

He said this however requires increased attention to human capital development and values, adding that this among other things is the aim of the two day conference.

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