NEPC Pledges to Sustain Capacity Building on Exports

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Olusegun Awolowo, NEPC Executive Director at the Nigerian Pavilion in Cairo, Egypt

Ernest Chinese in Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said it will continue to create opportunities for Nigerians to imbibe the culture of exports, through capacity building programmes as it celebrates the passing out of 42 trainees of its Zero to programme.

The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, said this at the Batch Five Zero to Export Graduation Ceremony in Abuja.
He said programme was part of the Council’s efforts to reposition the non-oil sector, through job creation and inclusive growth, thereby making it a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“There is no doubt that the essence of our gathering today underscores the crucial role that non-oil export sector plays in the present administration’s effort at diversifying the Nigerian economy away from over reliance on oil as its main stay, especially with incessant fluctuations in oil prices,” he said.

Awolowo, who was represented the Director Product Development, Mr. William Ezeagu, assured the graduates that “NEPC would continue to encourage Nigerians to take advantage of the diversification process of the federal government through the promotion of non-oil export activities”.

According to him, “Zero to Export programme is an effective tool of introducing companies into the export business, because NEPC recognised the fact that many companies desired to go into the export business but lack the capacity and skill to embark on the business successfully.”
The Council announced a provision of N500, 000 to the Co-operative Society formed by the graduating batch. This was expected to serve as a seed capital to enhance smooth take-off of the Co-operative Society in engaging in export business.

He advised the graduates to take the opportunity of having been trained seriously to strive to sustain the programme by involving in actual export business. This way the huge investments in material and resources deplored by the Council will be justified.
The Zero to Export initiative is one of the flagship programmes of the council that focuses on creating new generation of Nigerian exporters through practical and theoretical training of business executives, bankers, civil servants, unemployed graduates and even retired citizens with interest in export business.

The programme is anchored on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement led by the Consultant Mr Kola Awe of EPT Logistics International Limited.
The South – South (Niger Delta) in particular, was of particular importance to the development and promotion of non-oil export as a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP.
If nothing but to show that apart from oil there are other products that Nigeria can rely upon to grow her economy.

So far the programme has trained and graduated over 200 trainees from the Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja centres. Most of the trainees have formed registered Cooperatives, and are already exporting.

UK Showcases Commitment to West Africa’s Agro-Industry
The United Kingdom has continued to demonstrate its commitment to improved business environment in Nigeria and other West African countries with the inaugural edition of the UK- West Africa Agritech Summit organised by the UK Department for International Trade in Lagos recently.

With a mission to encourage Britain and West Africa’s rapidly growing trade and investment outlook by nurturing a strong network of prospective partners in finance, technology, innovation and knowledge, the summit was intended to be a platform for thoughtful discussion and deliberation over some of the most critical issues impacting the sector on a national, regional and international level.

The summit’s agenda covered a range of diverse topics including promoting socio-economic development through agricultural transformation, livestock transformation and financing agribusiness in West Africa.

Speaking at the event the British Deputy High Commissioner, Laure Beaufils said:
“Agriculture is Africa’s engine of growth and job production. The sector accounts for an average of 20 per cent of GDP of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The UK is playing our part through investment in rural farmers, agritech, increasing wealth creation and strengthening value propositions of local entrepreneurs.
“We recognise that the sector requires funding and our UK Export Finance agency (UKEF) is committed to supporting these initiatives with vital capital support in the sector through its credit grantee scheme.”

The event was attended by investors, business leaders, SME owners and senior executives from across West Africa including the Managing Director, Private Investment Promotion Agency, Guinea, Namory Camara; West African Rep., Agric Council Africa, Kwame Sisto Asaase; Vice President, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) and Chairman Bestfood farms, Emmanuel Ijewere.

The summit was also attended by representatives from the office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, office of the Minister on Agriculture, Amolexis, CDC UK, AB5 Consulting, as well as other.