As NEPC urges MSMEs on leveraging on single window
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As the Buhari-led administration continues to push diversification agenda with a focus on non-oil sectors of the economy, the PDF Bridge brought critical stakeholders together to chart a new course on galvanizing non-oil export businesses to unlock the potentials of Micros, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs.
The conference which was held via webinar had the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria, NPNEN, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and others in attendance, and was moderated by Abosede Paul-Obameso.
Majorly, the conference focused on how to harness the potential of MSMEs to drive the non-oil export business in Africa and beyond based on the great number of them in the country and the strategic role they play in economic growth and development including massive employment.
However, the stakeholders identified challenges that have remained a clog in the wheels of non-oil export business which include lack of trade policy as a nation, government agencies working in silos, poor compliance by business organizations with government policies, and lack of enlightenment on international standards.
The report with title, ‘Diversification and Non-Oil Export Opportunities for the Nigeria States Post-COVID19’ was presented by Ereoluwa Porter of PDF Bridge, who stated that the report documents results and findings of a study carried out to identify non-oil export opportunities within Nigeria’s value chain and curate recommendations on how Nigeria could generate much-needed foreign exchange earnings from these products as part of its trade diversification plans.
The study was commissioned by the PDF Bridge Programme for use by the beneficiaries, in particular, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council as a key policymaker on non-oil exports. It is expected that this report will provide current and actionable recommendations that will support the NEPC, Federal MDAs, States, and Non-Oil Exporters in the drive towards diversification of the Nigerian economy.
He said: “However, despite the adoption of the Zero-oil Initiative in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 of the Federal Government, the performance of non-oil sector remains limited, and does not reflect the significant investment committed to the diversification agenda.
“To this end, the NEPC through the Policy Development Facility Bridge (PDFBridge) Programme commissioned Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct a market analysis of the 22 identified products of the Zero-oil initiative in a bid to provide a comprehensive analysis on the export potentials, key markets, existing value chain and quality requirements of six (6) key products.”
He added that the report focused on MSMEs operating sectors like agriculture across the Soya bean, leather, rubber, cocoa bean, sugar, and ginger value chains, and also manufacturing.
The report also indicated that Soya beans had an export market gap of $50 billion; Rubber export market gap of $80 billion; Sugar of $8.2 billion; Leather with $15.5 billion export market, Cocoa, and Ginger.
“Due to the volume of MSMEs and the sector’s contribution to employment in Nigeria, MSMEs serve as a pivot for driving socio-economic growth, particularly in emerging economies including Nigeria.
“The report shows that informality, size, and technical capacity, lack of information, poor infrastructure, lack of coordination among others have challenged the growth of the Nigerian Non-oil trade sector.”
He said the report recommended also the adoption of formal integration strategies, capacity building programmes, inclusiveness initiatives, investment enabling policies, quality infrastructures as well as system optimization initiatives to boost the productivity of the Nigerian MSME sector.
However, speaking on the report, the representative from Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Ezra Yakusak emphasized that there is the need to set up a presidential task force single window.
Yakusak made it known that NEPC is making efforts currently to capture MSMEs in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said: “If we want to move the sector forward, we have to look at promoting a single window and take it as a critical issue, hence the need to set up a presidential task force on it.
“Also let us not forget that the single window is also a critical aspect of the AfCFTA. So there is a need for these activities to be coordinated beyond the AfCFTA.
“We are working to establish a warehouse for these MSMEs in the six geopolitical zones, as a way to encourage them into formalising their businesses, ensure standardization, and quality assurance of their product.”
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Dala Inland Dry Port, Dr Ahmed Rabiu, said some small businesses are not cooperating as they run away because of the cost involved.