NEPC, CBI to provide technical support for export promotion
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) Netherlands have put in place a capacity building programme for the promotion of non-oil exports and improved access to European Union markets.
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, while speaking at the commencement of a 5-day professional development training programme for NEPC staff pointed out that the initiative is part of an effort to bring about economic empowerment of Nigerians with the aim of enabling Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SME) export development to the EU market – a function which is in line with the present Government’s policy on poverty reduction and job creation, especially with the inclusive growth for women.
He noted that empirical studies has shown that key challenges to export, both to the EU, Africa markets and rest of world are mainly in lack of knowledge, experience and exposure regarding export marketing and management among SME exporters and export regulatory agencies.
This, Awolowo said necessitated the Council’s collaboration with CBI to enhance knowledge and implement capacity building as an outcome of needs analysis adding that within the framework of this collaboration NEPC has decided to focus on three sectors viz Sesame Seed, Cocoa and Cashew nut as pilot products with the view to applying same strategies and processes in developing other products.
According to him, “The Council within this collaboration with CBI supports efforts to improve Market Information Systems (MIS), communications skills, quality management, trust, awareness and cooperation between Agencies.
“These Sectors are Pilot selections in the Capacity Building process for non-oil export development. We are optimistic to apply and transfer basic methodologies learnt to different product sectors and other professionals”, he submitted.
In his remarks, James Fitzpatrick, representing CBI, disclosed that Nigeria was chosen as a priority country for the Netherlands in view of the business and trade relations of the two countries and in line with the ideals of ZOP, apart from Nigeria’s huge market size and rich natural resources.
The main objectives of the programme, he said is to “train NEPC Coaches and a group of objectively selected companies drawn from the Sesame Seed, Cocoa and Cashew sub-sectors who are focused to improve the contribution of non-oil export sector to the economy of Nigeria. The emphasis is on training farmers, processors and exporters as a whole, to improve productivity, including establishing a sustainable local processing capacity for the purposes of exports”.
Awolowo explained that given the expectation of stakeholders on the possibility of turning the economy of Nigeria around using the Zero Oil Plan (ZOP), the training of the Council’s staff as Export Coaches and Officials demonstrate resolute commitment to knowledge and market intelligence as an effective mechanism to drive the ZOP.
He opined that building the skills of NEPC staff realistically equips the Council to facilitate SME export development to the EU market.