The NACCIMA Export Action Group, NEXAG has called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency evolve policies that would help the SME segment impact more positively on the economy through international trade.

In a communique issued at the end of the group’s recent meeting at the NACCIMA House, Ikeja GRA, it demanded that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN should revisit the restriction of the usage of non-oil and export proceeds as well as the suspension of the current Export Expansion Grant, EEG, among other things so as to make the operating environment more SME friendly.

Chairman, NACCIMA Export Action Group, Ade Adefeko said it had become imperative for the CBN to revisit the policy on restriction of non-oil export and export proceeds because “the policy has negatively affected most SMEs, particularly indigenous exporters.”

He wondered why the EEG grant should remain under suspension at a time the Nigerian economy is in dire need of other sources of boosting earnings from international trade with oil prices turning things against her economy. “The suspension of the Export Expansion Grant, EEG has limited the growth of non-oil export and as such, we are calling on the Federal Government to lift this suspension as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Other areas that NEXAG wants the Federal Government to look into urgently to help the SME segment make more positive impact on the economy, include compelling “the Nigerian Custom Service to accept Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate, NDCC as issued by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC for duty payments and accepting the NDCC for payment of other government revenues,” according to the communique.

The Group wants to see the CBN and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM cooperate with the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA to make access to fund easier for SMEs particularly with the N300bn non-oil intervention fund already set aside by the government.

According to Adefeko “the CBN should simplify the procedure in such a way that the fund will be accessible by exporters, particularly those in the SME segment without being exposed to the intrigues and rigours of the commercial banks.”

The NEXAG would also want to see that SMEs able to access loans under the intervention fund to be allowed to repay with the NDCC as issued by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC.