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How government plans to boost exports, by NEPC boss


Olusegun Awolowo

Olusegun Awolowo

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has listed factors that could support indigenous exporters to increase the volume of their exports. Executive-Director of the NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo disclosed yesterday at the 22nd seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors (FICAN) in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State that the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) was suspended to be reformed, so that it could efficiently play its role of supporting Nigerian exporters to increase the volume of their exports.

According to Awolowo, it would enhance the contributions of non-oil export to the national economy and broaden export product and market coverage. Furthermore, he said the grant would support the diversification of the productive base of the economy as well as payment with Negotiable Duty Credit Certifications, among others.

The NEPC boss, who was represented by the Director, Export Development & Incentive, George Enyiekpon, listed other key elements that could totally reform the EEG for optimum results to include the introduction of a narrower incentives band.

Awolowo added that government would place sharper emphasis on providing incentives mainly for export of finished and intermediary goods and transparently budgeting a specific financial value for export incentives each year.

He expressed worry over the non-performing EEG, faulting a situation where about N300 billion EEG claims are still outstanding. He stressed that if the situation continues, the diversification of the economy through non-oil exports might be jeopardised.

The Federal Government had introduced the EEG in 1999 to encourage non-oil exports and cushion the effect of cost disadvantages faced by Nigerian exporters due to infrastructural deficiencies.

The grant was planned to be disbursed to qualified exporters in the form of the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC) and utilised by beneficiaries for the payment of customs and excise duty on their export shipments.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State Agriculture, Dr. Heineken Lokpobiri has urged farmers and exporters of farm produce to apply the best agricultural practices at all times to enable their acceptance globally.

Lokpobiri, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Administration in the ministry, Enene Ambah ‎at a workshop held yesterday in Abuja said the sensitisation became necessary at the time the country is diversifying into agriculture to provide a strong and sustainable economic base for the nation.

The minister further lamented that over the years, agricultural products have been exposed to pesticide residues and mycotoxin producing fungi resulting in several rejections of some of the nation’s agricultural produce by some of its trading partners, particularly the European Union.

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NEPCOlusegun Awolowo
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