By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Chief Olusegun Awolowo has urged Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, SMEs, to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, to access foreign markets and boost their businesses.
He said for the SMEs to fully benefit from the AfCFTA it was also important for them to have a better understanding of the market entry criteria in the regional markets if Nigeria will reap the benefits of participating in it.
The Executive Director who spoke Monday at Export Market Access Programme held in Makurdi said the NEPC would continue to work to foster private sector driven economy through market oriented export products development.
Represented by the Trade Advisor/Head NEPC Makurdi Export Assistance Office, Mr. Ben Anani, the Executive Director said, “over the last decade, key market access conditions like tariffs, non-tariff barriers and utilization of preferences have increasingly been affected by bilateral trade agreements in most developing nations and Nigeria is no exemption.
“However, with the trade opportunities offered by AfCFTA, it is extremely important for SMEs to have a better understanding of market entry criteria in the regional markets if Nigeria must reap the benefits of our participation in the agreement.”
In his remark, the President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers, Prof. Simon Irtwange called for synergy among yam fathers to ensure ease in the process of harnessing and exportation of yam and other farm produce from the country.
In his presentation, the Lead consultant for NICERT, an accredited Nigerian third party conformity assessment and certification agency, Mr. Olaniyi Olayiwola said the agency and its partner offers training, consultancy services in areas of certification to sensitize exporters, farmers, processors on appropriate protocols to meet the quality and standards required by foreign markets they seek to access.