The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has stated that the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, has inaugurated a committee composed of the NEPC and other regulatory agencies to ensure the removal of Nigeria from the European Union’s (EU) restriction list.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusah, on the sidelines of its advocacy programme on export trade house, Cairo Egypt, said the committee which has less than two months to go, was specifically set up to make recommendations on how to remove Nigerian products from the EU list.
According to him, the Council is also taking proactive measures to ensure that some of these products are removed from EU restrictions by ensuring these products meet stipulated EU requirements.
In his words: “Sometimes the problem is due to poor packaging and a lack of mandatory or voluntary certifications. So we decided to take the challenge by deploying our ‘go global, go for certification’ programme to train over 150 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) free of charge. We want to ensure that these products are removed from the EU list.
He said under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, the Council established the Export Trade House (ETH) in furtherance of fulfilling its mandate of promoting the development and diversification of Nigeria’s non-oil export base.
He noted that the ETH is an initiative of the Council to have a central location where Made-in Nigeria products can be shipped, displayed and distributed to different parts of the world.
“This, therefore, is in line with the concept of a trade house that purchases and sells products for other businesses using their international expertise as is the practice in countries such as in China, Switzerland, USA, Singapore and the United Kingdom,” he added.
According to him, businesses that use trade houses can benefit from its expertise and insight into international markets they operate in as well as get access to vendor financing through loans and credits.
He added: “The project is one of the Council’s facilities aimed at increasing Nigeria’s international market share. This is further necessitated by the need for aggressive marketing to increase productivity, enhance expansion and facilitate economic growth through non-oil export. It is also a way of addressing the ever increasing challenge of dwindling revenue from oil as the world is fast moving away from oil to other sources of energy such as electricity for automobiles and solar power.”
He stressed that the Council had adopted the concept of ETH to further drive the non-oil export with a view to increasing market share and take maximum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
He noted that the Council intends to establish the Export Trade Houses in different centres around the globe namely Cairo in Egypt, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa.
“Others are Hunan in China, Ottawa in Canada, Saudi Arabia and Lome Togo. These are to cover export activities in the various regions of the world being targeted by Nigeria,” he stated.
The NEPC boss added that the ETH was launched on 21st of March, 2022 in Sadat City and is expected to improve value addition on Nigerian export of products through cleaning, processing distribution and marketing, saying that this in turn would lead to economies of scale, international foothold in finding new customers and managing currency risks.
He stated the objectives of the ETHs to include enhancing the visibility of made-in-Nigeria products outside the Nigerian shores, reducing the cost of logistics on the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and increasing Nigeria’s share in the targeted markets
He also added that the ETHs would create employment for the nation’s teeming youths and increase forex inflow into the Nigerian economy.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Agriverdi, Mr. Mousallati Ghazwan, said the main problem in today’s commodity trades in Nigeria and worldwide is lack of transparency, marketing and reach between the local suppliers and end users.
He said lack of transparency creates uncertainty and results in confusion in pricing, supply and results in over or under supply to international markets.
Proffering solutions to the challenge, he stated the need for effective collaborations between local and international partners.
He said the ETH was established to facilitate the business cycle of all Nigerian agro commodities ranging from sesame, hibiscus, peanuts, cashew, soya seeds ginger and the likes.