By Favour Nnabugwu
The National Council on Trade and Investment, NCTI, has called for increased participation of all state governments across the country in the promotion of non-oil exports as part of deliberate efforts to grow the country’s non-oil export sector.
This was one of the high points of the 16-point communique issued at the end of the 5th Meeting of the National Council on Trade and Investment, in Minna.
According to the report of the one-year score-sheet of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Nigeria exported non-oil products to 103 countries in 2011, valued at N428bn. This figure represents a 19 per cent increase over the previous year’s result.
However, the NCTI noted that in order to boost the nation’s non-oil export earnings and increase its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, there was an urgent need to upgrade the existing States’ Export Promotion Committees to Export Promotion Agencies to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, in order to improve value addition of products meant for the export market.
The Council also stressed the need for the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to strengthen its collaboration with state governments in the area of skills acquisition and capacity building in order to create more jobs, generate wealth and transform the nation’s economy.
The communique reads in part, “The NCTI has noted the need for states to be more involved in non-oil export promotion activities and urged them to, as a matter of policy, upgrade the existing States Export Promotion Committees to Export Promotion Agencies in order to complement the work of NEPC towards improving value addition activities.
“It recognised the importance of skills acquisition in Industrial development but noted that several agencies appeared to be involved in the establishment and administration of skills acquisition centres. To this end, the Council has urged the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to strengthen its liaison with these agencies, including state governments that run such outfits.”
It added, “The NCTI recognises the critical role Produce Inspection Services (PIS) plays in export commodities quality control. However, it noted that the function of States Produce Inspection Services resides in ministries other than Commerce, Industry and Investment as the case may be and urged states to ensure that the function of Produce Inspection be appropriately domiciled.
“Council took note of the approval for the upgrading of the Weights and Measures Division to the status of a Department, its ratification by the National Council on Establishment and the consequent change of nomenclature to Legal Metrology.”
In order to fast-track the implementation of the ministry’s proposed policy on the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products, the NCTI directed that the matter be referred to the National Economic Council for consideration and endorsement.