By Favour Nnabugwu
THE Nigerian Export Promotion Council has said that the country’s earnings from non-oil exports dropped by N52.2billion ($261million) in the second quarter of this year.
The country’s non-oil export dipped to N78.2bn ($391m) in the second quarter of 2015 from N130.4bn ($652m) recorded in the second quarter of 2014, representing 39.25 per cent decrease.
The figures were disclosed in Abuja yesterday by the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, during a courtesy call on the Council by the new Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).Awolowo attributed the slump in non-oil export revenue earning to the suspension of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and the insurgence in the North East. “The situation is compounded with the non payment of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and the insurgency in the North East which is the agricultural basket of the nation.
He said, “The nation is not only losing on the economic front, the lull in the non-oil export is also affecting the capacity of the manufacturing sector to employ, lamenting that in the period under review, the nation lost 50 per cent of its labour force.“The country has taken a dip of 60 per cent in oil revenue. For any country across the world, it is huge. However, the challenges we are having in the oil sector are also affecting the value of our non-oil export. One of the challenges is the continued rejection of products by foreign importers, which he noted was due to improper documentation by clearing and forwarding agents. Awolowo stated that an inquiry into some of the causes of products rejection revealed that most exporters ran foul of documentation rules adding that exporters employed the services of cheap agents who do hasty jobs for them.
Services of cheap agents
On what the Federal Government is doing to put an end to rejection of products from Nigeria, the NEPC boss noted that an inter-agency committee was working to ensure zero rejection by 2016.
“In a bid to unearth the reasons behind the rejection of our export products in Europe, we went to London with seven agencies of government. We visited the largest Port where Nigeria and other West African countries’ goods pass through. To our utter disgust and amazement, many of the rejects were based on improper documentation. They route some of the goods through fraudulent clearing and forwarding agents. We have to work with the Customs service to address this. When we have an export portal, people can track their exports.
In his response, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, assured the NEPC of the Service’s support in removing all impediments to export trade. On the EEG which was meant to boost the nation’s exports but was suspension by the past administration due to alleged abuse of it, Ali said that Ministerial committee set up by the past administration would submit its findings to President Mohammadu Buhari for necessary action as soon as the Ministers get to work.