Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the country’s lead agency in the promotion of non-oil export, has promised to support newly registered exporters in Abia State, to export their products, earn foreign exchange and improve the economy of the country.
Roselyn Ekanem, trade promotion advisor, NEPC, stated this in her remark, at one-day export sensitisation workshop on “Zero to Export”, organised by her office, in collaboration with Abia State Committee on Export Promotion and the Ministry of Trade and Investment, held in Umuahia.
She explained that NEPC has so many programmes to support non-oil export to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil to grow the economy and urged the newly registered exporters to work closely with the Aba Smart Office for mentorship.
Ekanem, who is the head, Aba Smart Office of the NEPC, stated that the essence of engaging in export is to improve the individual’s economy, the state and the country at large.
She stressed that the Government and experts looked to non-oil export for economic recovery, noting that NEPC has many programmes to support non-oil export, to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil, and to grow the economy.
She stated that “Zero to Export”, is a programme designed for new registered exporters and non-performing exporters, to encourage them to export.
“It is a town hall meeting, where we get feedback from stakeholders on their experiences and challenges in export.
The clinic is matched with an economic recovery programme with 11 product targeted markets, in line with the vision of NEPC to make the world a market for all.
Zero to export capacity building is aimed at developing the capacity of the exporting community with a view to enhance the performance of the sector.
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Since its inception in 2017, several SMEs and NEPC staff have been trained to have capacity to handle export trade matters.
This initiative has been a collaborative effort between NEPC, Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) and other development partners to bring about economic empowerment of Nigerians with the aim of enabling SMEs to export to the United States of America (USA) European Union (EU), Africa and Asia, as well as create jobs.
Ekanem explained that over 500 participants have been trained in the programmes with sesame seed, cocoa and cashew, as pilot products.
The NEPC boss also said that export incentives are increasingly becoming attractive to encourage exporters, noting that the Council in 2021, gave out a N50 million export grant to some exporters for encouragement.
This is as she urged all stakeholders to take to export and export now for survival.
Michael Egwu, permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abia State stated that the ministry and the state committee on export is collaborating with NEPC to inform and update prospective exporters on the need to embark on exportation of goods in the non-oil sub-sector.
He stated that the workshop is part of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s effort to build capacity and maintain the strive towards food security and economic development of citizens.
Egwu, who is the chairman, Abia State Committee on Export Promotion, described export business as a money spinner, if properly guided and enjoined exporters and intended exporters to take advantage of NEPC programmes to grow their businesses.
Michael Udonsi, director of commerce, Abia State, who delivered a paper titled “An assessment of trade and commerce in Abia State and prospects for export”, explained that the essence of trade is for economic development and growth to be achieved, through proper distribution of goods and services.
He stated that the importance of trade is seen in every government, as they continue to roll out policies that enable proper balance of trade.
Consequently, he said every society makes policies that would favour more export than import.
This, according to him, is because a State that has more goods on the export side, would certainly enjoy favourable growth, economically.
He explained that what constitutes Abia’s major export are finished leather and allied products and garments.
He advised entrepreneurs in Abia to get more acquainted with Nigeria trade policies to enable them engage more in export activities.