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Resolving the Export Expansion Grant impasse

THE attention of the public has recently been drawn to the protracted controversy over the implementation of the Federal Government’s Export Expansion Grant, EEG, a laudable policy aimed at driving non-oil exports and ultimately diversifying Nigeria’s economy and the revenue base.

As much as the objective is in tandem with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, the key economic policy framework of the present administration, it is ironical that rather than give the EEG a boost, the relevant authorities have snarled it in an implementation logjam.

Currently, over N350 billion is the outstanding indebtedness of the government to the bona fide beneficiaries for more than nine years while some elements of underhand deals have been spotted in the discriminatory disbursement of the funds.

Nigerian,

There has also been a needless information gap over the legislative and executive actions in effecting the payments as well as the payments’ modus operandi.

Why should the Legislature approve issuance of Promissory Notes, PNs, to the beneficiaries but the Executive, through the Debt Management Office, DMO, comes up with the Reverse Auction Process, RAP, for the issuance?

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Why should deductions be made (under the terms of the RAP) on already approved payments? Why should a few of the beneficiaries be selected for the PNs (without RAP) while others are subjected to the adverse conditions of the RAP?

We call on the Federal Ministry of Finance to clear the air on whose table the approvals and payments have been stalled as well as what form the payment should take.

We urge the Executive to jettison the idea of RAP and issue the PNs to the beneficiaries in line with what the Legislature approved.

Also the PNs should be at shortest term feasible for payment, bearing in mind that payment has been delayed for a period of three to 12 years for members’ claims. Moreover, equal treatment should be meted to all beneficiaries of all PN categories.

We believe that a faithful implementation of the EEG policy is the needed elixir to help track performance in the non-oil sector and accelerate the rate of our economic growth.

The logjams and controversies around the EEG implementation would seriously erode investors’ confidence, as well as dampen the appetite for export sector development and formalisation.

It would clearly undermine the much-needed foreign direct investment into the non-oil export sector, while also short-circuiting the growth in the foreign reserves.

The non-oil sector has great potentials and the capacity to sustain the economy and ensure inclusive growth, as in the case of agriculture.

The EEG being such a catalyst for private sector-driven growth in the sector should be given much seriousness in policy implementation than what we are witnessing.

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