The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, yesterday officially flagged off the federal government N50billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) and launched the first on-line Grant Management Portal for non-oil exports at the Export House in Abuja.
He was joined by the Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman, National Executive Council (NEC) of the National Committee for Export Promotion, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; Minister of State for Trade, Mrs. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum; Chairmen of Senate Committee on Commerce and House Committee on Commerce; Chairman, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Governing Board, Senator Ibrahim Musa; Vice Chairman, Steering Committee of the Export Expansion Facility Programme, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, and their host, the Executive Director and CEO of NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo.
Members of the Export Expansion Facility Steering Committee and members of the Export Development Fund Board of Trustees (BoT) were also in attendance.
The EEFP is part of the federal government N2.3 trillion fund of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan. EEFP is focused on cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-oil export businesses thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new jobs. The EEFP’s primary goal is to also increase Nigeria’s export capacity in the near term and export volumes in the medium term.
During his keynote address, the Minister, Adebayo, who chaired the 11-man Steering Committee implementing the EEFP, said: “The Ultimate aim of the Export Expansion Facility Programme as an intervention following the devastating economic effects of COVID-19 to exporters and MSMEs in Nigeria will be to save jobs, create jobs, support resilience in shoring up foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of the Nigerian economy and acceleration of its economic growth and economic support.”
The Executive Director of the NEPC, who also doubles as the Secretary of the Steering Committee, Awolowo, in his welcome address, highlighted the areas focused by the EEFP.
According to him, “As we launch the EDF, we will apply the use of technology through the Grant Management Portal which ‘goes live’ today (yesterday) so that we will be equalise opportunities to achieve inclusive economic growth through non-oil exports.
“The Export Development Fund is a pre-shipment incentive stipulated in the NEPC Act, which due to lack of funds, was never activated. We were however overjoyed by the provision of the Export Expansion Facility which provided the opportunity for us to finally activate the fund for our teeming SME exporting companies, which over the years have been unable to access the active Export Expansion Grant, which is a post-shipment incentive. We are confident that through this facility, we will save and create jobs as we work towards moving us from #Pandemic2Prosperity.”
He said the portal would be for exporters to register for grants as direct intervention from the federal government with the objective of providing financial assistance to exporting companies to cover part of their initial expenses with respect to export promotion activities.
The Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman of the NEC on Export Promotion, Abubakar, welcomed the successful launch of the EDF, calling it ‘long awaited’, as he congratulated the federal government for the emphasis on non-oil exports.