By 1960s, Nigeria placed considerable emphasis on agricultural research and extension services; and put in place effective measures to enhance its economic condition with the curiosity to facilitate agro-Allied sector. During the periods, additional scholarship and facilities for training of junior staff in agro-Allied were provided in higher institutions.

Through these measures, Nigeria witnessed emergent developments such as Alien Cotton in the South, rice cultivation in Sokoto, Niger, Ilorin, Abeokuta and Ondo. The introduction of wheat cultivation in most northern parts; the extension of product of such export crops as cocoa, palm oil and groundnut, development of agricultural implementations as well as designing farm buildings.

Apparently, the development paved ways for horticultural activities, development of a marketing sector for agricultural outputs, the extension of the Product Inspection Services to cover all principal export crops, investigations into the possibilities for organized land settlement schemes and investigations into the possibilities of irrigation in northern Nigeria.

Moreover, in the modern world, manufacturing sector is regarded as a basis through which a nation’s economic efficiency is determined, measured, compared, classified and ranked. However, it is regrettable that after the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria in the late 1950s, the nation has shifted from its emerged developing industrial production base and placed heavy weight on crude oil production; not only has this jeopardized its economic economics activities, but also amplified the nation level of unemployment and other social vices.

It is against this background that the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an export credit agency to promote diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepen the external sector through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies, risk bearing facilities, business development and financial advisory services and trade and market information services, has initiated a working blueprint, spanning from 2010 to 2015, to propel the non-oil sectors of Nigeria’s economy to a grand-level.

So far, it has been argued that the fasted trend through which a nation can achieve a sustainable economic growth and development is neither by the level of its endowed material resources, nor that of its vast human resources, but technological innovation and industrial capacity. For instance, despite its poor natural resources and the hurdles it faced from 1920s chronic inflation, Germany has effectively exploited the manufacturing sector and rise up to become the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world.

Such is the ongoing mission of the NEXIM Bank’s established Manufacturing, Agro – Processing, Solid Minerals and Services (MASS project), primarily to intensify efficiency and profitability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) through the funding and acquisition of new technology. The project has facilitated the expansion of several manufacturing industries such as RIGGS Ventures Plc which recently recorded increased production capacity from 9 million to 69 million polypropylene sacks per annum, consisting of cement, industrial and agro sacks. Without doubt, this expansion has created over 300 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs. The company has its major customers in Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Cameroon and Niger Republic and other ECOWAS countries.

Though over the years, non-oil export earnings have been slow, however, the ongoing collaboration between NEXIM Bank and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has pave way for drastic increase in the exportation of non-oil products. For instance, it was revealed by NEPC that in April 2012 Nigeria exported 1.186 million metric tons of non-oil products valued at $2.765 billion (N428.57 billion) from over 117 products being exported to different countries in 2011.

The non-oil export figure, according to the Executive Director Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. David Adulugba, represents an increase of 19.15 percent over the $2.32 billion (N359.6 billion) recorded in 2010, and 61.97 percent over that of 2009. In the last three years, the steady rise in non-oil export could be traced to NEXIM Bank’s intervention under its Managing Director, Mr. Roberts Orya.

In 2012, NEXIM Bank assured Small and Medium Scale Enterprises of its readiness to finance them provided they meet with the bank’s prerequisite conditions for the purpose of expanding existing businesses as well as kicking off new ones across the country. While a total of N23.33 billion was made available to Nigerian non-oil exporters, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Similarly, to finance non-oil export, NEXIM Bank supported Nigerian exporters mainly the small and medium enterprises (SME’s) with some engaged in Greenfield projects, to the tune of N23.33 billion and issued guarantees valued at $27.3 million between 2009 and August 2012.

The interventions were provided in targeted sectors with high growth potentials, including manufacturing, which gulped about N11.3 billion or 48 percent of the total credit. Other beneficiaries include the agro-processing sector, with about N5 billion or 21 per cent of the share, while the solid minerals sector received about N2 billion, representing 8.9 per cent of the total support. The services sector also got about N4.8 billion credit within the period.

Also, NEXIM Bank has operated in synergy with the Central Bank of Nigeria. NEXIM’s strategic plan for the CBN’s trade development includes enhancing the implementation of ECOWAS trade support facility, becoming the national guarantor for the ECOWAS interstate road transit scheme, facilitating the realization of NEXPOTRADE goals of establishing export houses in all ECOWAS countries, and improving the strategic alliances with multilateral agencies, DFIs and export credit agencies.

In the manufacturing sector from 2010, NEXIM Bank has maintained an increased efficiency and profitability of manufacturing establishments through the funding of acquisition of new technology, increased access of manufacturers to short and long-term credit, provision of 6% (about N42bn) of the manufacturing sector’s financing requirement by 2015, account for 3.71% of the sector’s GDP by 2015 and create about 70,479 jobs through project financing activities.

Furthermore, having identified four subsectors—food and beverages, wood and wood products, domestic and industrial products, steel and processed alloy in the manufacturing initiative, NEXIM Bank had assisted to boosted these sectors with financing requirement  amounting to N522bn as at 2011. The intervention has helped the subsectors to compete in the global markets. The peculiar features of this subsector are that they are dominated by multi-nationals enterprises depending on imported machinery; and the abundance of local raw materials.