By Godfrey Ofurum
The place of finance as a critical factor in export business came to the fore at a recent one-day sensitisation workshop on export financing organised for exporters in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.
The workshop, organised by the Aba smart office of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), was aimed at exposing the exporting community to the various funding sources available to exporters.
Speaking at the workshop, Roselyn Ekanem, trade promotion advisor, Aba smart office of NEPC, noted that finance is a major challenge faced by most exporters; its availability helps the exporter do business with ease while lack of it hampers export activities.
Ekanem said the NEPC, in order to encourage exports and diversify the economy, has the mandate to spearhead the creation of export incentives and administer same, backed by the Export Incentive and Miscellaneous Provision Acts No 18 of 1986 with several amendments, CAP E19 LFN 2004 and ACT 65 of CAP E19 1992 LFN.
As such, the NEPC offers pre-export and post-export incentives aimed at developing the sector and improving the country’s economy.
She said some of the Counci’s programmes, such as the One-State-One-Product (OSOP) initiative, Women in Export, Export Development Fund, have started yielding dividends as people key into them to develop their export businesses.
The Export Development Fund, which is a pre-export incentive, Ekanem said, is intended for the development of products, exporters and staff for export activities. This includes creating awareness at workshops, participation at trade fairs, international training with development partners for staff and exporters, product and market researches. The fund support SME’s in the areas of pre shipment quarantine issues and standards.
She said the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), a post export incentive, is indicated for the expansion of export volumes and value. It is designed to improve the competitiveness of Nigerian products and services. EEG stimulates export growth and applications to access it are made when export proceeds are received by the CBN and processed by NEPC.
Ekanem said other government agencies have also created several incentives to encourage export and that all incentives jointly administered by the NEPC and other government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are intended to achieve economic diversification.