By Daniel Gumm
PLANS are already atÂ advanced stage for Nigerian exporters to reap the benefits of hard work as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is set to recognise non-oil exporters in the nation.
Speaking to Vanguard in Lagos, Tuesday, at the Ist National Non-Oil Exports Conference, Exhibition and Awards, the new Area Controller of the Lagos Annex Office of the NEPC, Mr. M. O. Ibrahim, said the event which would involve a conference, discussions on various topics and exhibition of products, a way the â€œNEPC wants to find to recognise our non-oil exporters because for a long time this idea has been on the drawing board but it has never materialised.â€
He stated that the NEPC should be able to recognise Nigerian non-oil exporters at various categories, adding that some non-oil exporters â€œare very hard working, while some have projected the image of the nation very well outside.â€
Ibrahim said â€œwhat the NEPC is doing now is to sensitise Nigerian exporters to prepare themselves for the event because every body is going to participate.
The Lagos event was for last Tuesday, the Kano event was for yesterday, while the Aba event will hold on Monday next week,â€ saying also that the export agency wants as much as possible â€œto get every body prepared for the April event because it is for the non-oil export sector of the economy of which we are all stakeholders,â€ he noted.
He explained that some time last year, â€œthe NEPC had some programmes that were initiated by a private sector organisation, Koinonia Ventures Limited. The NEPC was then calling the programme, Export Round Table.
He said Koinonia Ventures started the Export Round Table programme which had galvanised into the National Non-Oil Conference Exhibition and Awards that â€œis been proposed now, yet, the Export Round TableÂ programme will continue in another fora.
The National Non-Oil Conference Exhibition and Awards is only a modification, because when you talk of exhibition, awards, e.t.c., it involves a lot of governmentâ€™s involvement. That is why the NEPC has taken it upun itself to introduce the event later in the year, the first one will take place around April and it will be a big national event.â€
The new Apapa NEPC helmsman also plans to empower members of staff in the Lagos Annex Office to be knowledgeable in export business, â€œto have adquate information so that they can as well desseminate same to exporters, because exporters are in dire need of current and credible information. I wiill hold more enlightenment programmes as well as more export clinics on sectoral basis for exporters.â€
In his remark, The Managing Director of Koinonia Ventures Ltd, Mr. Olufemi Boyede said only â€œexisting exporters in Nigeria understand the constraints that they go through to effect shipment, but they also understand the constraints they go through in order to access the EEG.,â€ which according to him is not an export incentive, but a reward. â€œNigeria is going into the 21st century where every country is packaging new baskets of incentives for its exporters.
Incentive is the reason why you go into export, but you do not get your EEG until after you have exported, and some times up to six months after you have exported, or seven months after you have applied.â€ Boyede argued that there was the â€œpossibility for Nigeria using non-oil export to create wealth and generate employment for its people.â€
Congratulating the NEPC for the new initiative for an award for exporters,Â Mr. Romeo Barberoupolos, Chairman, MANEXPORT said the award â€œis long overdue, for the fact that the award will boost the confidence of buyers when they see that your product wins an award.â€ He suggested that the criteria for the award should be correct and proper, saying that there would be need to have good statistics, and data after each and every exhibition.