By Henry Umoru
THE Federal government has said that if the nationâ€™s products were well packaged and made attractive especially to the international community, they will command better pricing through adequate promotion at the appropriate places and markets. Speaking in Abuja at the Stakeholders Forum on improvement of non-oil exports, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa who noted that the situation was affecting the nationâ€™s economy, called on Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON), Federal Produce Inspection Service(FPIS), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as other quality control agencies to step up action at educating Nigerian exporters on the urgent need to re-focus on the best standards and qualities that were acceptable in international markets.
Udenwa stressed that the forum became imperative based on the need to step Nigeriaâ€™s non-oil exports though improvement of quality and standards.
According to him, â€œIt is also my belief that our export level can do better than what we presently have, if necessary steps are taken to improve the quality and standards of our products. Our products if well packaged, can attract better pricing through adequate promotion at the appropriate places and markets.
â€œThere can be no better time than now, to call on our quality control agencies like Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON), Federal Produce Inspection Service(FPIS), National Agency for Food and drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC)etc to step up action at educating our exporters on the need to re-focus on the best standards and qualities that are acceptable in international markets.
Nigerian Products and Services have a lot of opportunities in the international markets of only our exporters can adopt the right strategies.
â€œThis need is further reinforced in view of the fact that most of the Nigerian products found in the overseas markets of USA, and EU are known to be informally routed through our neighbouring countries where they are repackaged. This results in loss of revenue to the country and farmers in particular. Up till now, we have not been able to exploit fully the opportunities offered by the African Growth and Opportunities Act(AGOA)-a US programme to promote and encourage export of African products into the American market.
â€œUnder Mr. Presidentâ€™s 7-point agenda, export development and promotion is of critical importance as it creates market for the agricultural products. Excess agricultural products must be processed and marketed to guarantee sustainable farmerâ€™s income and food security. Therefore, concerted efforts are being put in place to source, develop and promote viable export markets for our products, conformity to quality and standards is a daunting task which calls for close collaborative work between the public and private sectors. This is the rationale for this forumâ€.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. David Adulugba who noted that the agency was stepping up campaign to develop Nigeriaâ€™s product base for export, said, â€œIn the nearest future, the Council will assist state governments in the establishment of common facility centers similar to the one established by the Council in collaboration with other stakeholders in Abia and Lagos states.
In view of the enormous potentials waiting to be tapped, I wish to state that this occasion to encourage Nigerian economic operators to invest more in export-oriented project. This will guarantee local and foreign markets, but will immensely contribute to a complete turn-around of Nigeriaâ€™s economic fortunes in line with the Vision 20:2020 of the present administration.â€