The Nigeria Export-Import bank (NEXIM) is one of Nigeria’s specialized financial institutions dedicated to promoting exports and imports through the provision of credits to small and medium enterprises to grow the economy.

In April 2017, the Buhari administration appointed a new management for the bank under the leadership of Mr. Abba Bello, a seasoned banker with over 28 years’ experience. The team inherited a huge portfolio of non-performing loans, weak internal processes, dwindling confidence in the bank by partners – regional and international- and a lack of professionalism in the conduct of the bank’s business.

Today, the Abba Bello management team has successfully steered NEXIM from the brink of insolvency to profitability in just three years. From posting a loss of 8.03 billion naira in 2016, another loss of 569 million naira in 2017, the bank has reversed the trend to record consecutive profits of 1.09 billion naira in 2018 and 2.03 billion naira in 2019.

The past three years, has also seen stronger collaboration between NEXIM Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria in the management of two intervention schemes to boost funding support to the non-oil export sector, under a new philosophy of Produce, Add Value and Export (PAVE).

First is the 500 billion naira Non-oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF) that was initiated by the CBN, in collaboration with NEXIM to help redress the declining export financing and reposition the sector to increase its contribution to economic development.

The facility is designed to improve access of exporters to concessionary finance to expand and diversify the non-oil export baskets; attract new investments and encourage re-investments in value-added non-oil exports production and non-traditional exports; and shore up non-oil export sector productivity and create more jobs.

Second is the 50 billion naira Export Development Fund (EDF). The fund is structured to stimulate and increase funding, especially to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards facilitating regional industrialization for value added exports and broadening Nigeria’s export basket and market destinations. Since the CBN released the funds to NEXIM in February 2018 the bank has deployed a total of 52.9 billion naira to support 62 strategic export related projects.

NEXIM bank is also a major partner of the Nationwide MSME clinic, being conducted by the Presidency under the office of the Vice President. Under the initiative, NEXIM bank has reached out to many SMEs and made vital contributions towards the provision of common facility centers towards assisting SMEs to upscale their products, thus increasing their domestic and international competitiveness.

The bank signed a Sealink Project Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Transimex S.A. Cameroun through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the Sealink Promotional Company Ltd (SPCL) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

The MoU promotes waterway operations for hinterland, transit and coastal trade, especially for bulk cargo. The deal consolidates efforts to establish a regional shipping company through a public private partnership (PPP) that will see the increased use of Nigeria’s waterways for transporting goods. The execution of the partnership will promote trade and mitigate the transport and logistic challenges that have increased cost of trade transactions. Under the terms of the deal, Sealink is not only expected to foster maritime transportation of goods from inside the country but will also facilitate trade within West Africa.

NEXIM Bank has made a turnaround at a time that Nigerian businesses require financial assurance to survive and it is good to observe all the various programmes the bank continues to promote to sustain the economy.