A national Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) funded marble and granite company based in Kano state is targeting to give Nigeria a boost in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement by boosting trade up the export level.
Mr. Abba Bello, NEXIM’s Managing Director and CEO stated this on Thursday during a tour of the company, Dutse Granite Company Limited.
He said while the firm will supply the local market, the free trade pact has opened up the company for more business opportunity, Daily Trust reports.
“The benefits of free trade areas will be with who has the comparative advantage, countries that manufacture and are at the higher end of the value chain. Nigeria has the advantage of being one of the most advanced industries in the region as well as in Africa.
“We need to now maintain that advantage of free trade to be more beneficial to Nigeria. We must be net exporters rather than net importers and we are on course to do that,” he said.
He revealed that the project presently has cost over N700 million and the next phase will perhaps be to see how they can supply another stone cutter to make it two so as to make the production more optimal.
“This is the fastest cutter in the country. It takes eight hours to cut this stone while others take about 16 hours. The machines are products of the best marble or granite cutting machines in the world. So, it is not a small investment here.
“For us as a development finance institute, we have certain targets. Currently, for NEXIM Bank, one of the things we have put as our priority is to advance our trade up the value chain that is by encouraging processing. This is just a proof of concept for granite and marble processing,” he said stressing that “logistics is the problem (the company is currently facing) which is the next level for us to support the company to ensure that value is gotten.”
On his part, the Chairman and CEO of the company, Mustapha Khabeeb said the company employs 35 persons and that its market value is over N1 billion with initial NEXIM investment N700m.
He further said while the firm is just some months old, it was already known because of the quality of its products.
“You can only compete with us if you import from Italy not even from India,” he added, saying COVID-19 and the cost of transportation is what is currently stopping it from exporting to other countries.