James Emejo in Abuja
The Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Dr. Ezra Yakusak, has emphasised the need for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to bridge the knowledge gap, expedite compliance, enhance product competitiveness and achieve sustainable market access in the country’s traditional and emerging markets.
Speaking at the hands-on packaging and labelling technical sessions for women-led SMEs in Abuja, he said despite theingenuity and innovativeness of women in developing products that are targeted for export, there are some inherent gaps in products, including poor or inappropriate packaging arising from incorrect cushioning materials, mismatch sizes, misbranding, wrong labelling, incorrect or illegible graphics, infringement on trademarks, and lack of barcodes among others.
The NEPC bosshowever, affirmed the council’s commitment towards facilitating SMEs’ efforts to overcome challenges posed by Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and in particular packaging and labelling for export.
He pointed out that these flaws were basically attributable to a dearth of knowledge on appropriate packaging and ignorance of importing countries’ packaging and labelling requirements among others.
According to him, the council hosted an exhibition of made-in-Nigeria products to commemorate the 2023 International Women’s Day in March where some of the gaps were observed.
Yakusak said, “Realizing that getting the required knowledge remains a herculean task for our women SMEs, I promised them that the council will provide intervention in the areas of packaging and labelling, and today is a fulfilment of that promise.”
He said the products being displayed by the SMEs would be taken as a baseline in measuring the impact and effectiveness of the project, and assured that the NEPC remained committed to assisting SMEs in ensuring that their products access the international market.
He added that the council had deliberately chosen experts in the packaging and labelling field to facilitate the technical sessions in the workshop in order to impart requisite knowledge through hands-on action learning and demonstration techniques.
The NEPC boss, however, urged the participants to leverage the knowledge received in transforming their current and future product lines to conform with global requirements as well as urged the beneficiaries to share their knowledge and experience with other exporters having similar brands.