The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is to provide pre-shipment incentive grants to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) involved in non-oil exports to stimulate activities in the sector.
The Executive Director/CEO of the Council, Olusegun Awolowo, disclosed this when the Chief of Party, USAID/Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport, NEXTT, Alf Monaghan, visited his office in Abuja.
Awolowo said over the years, the council focused on administering post-shipment incentives, especially the Export Expansion Grant, EEG. He said efforts would be geared towards providing investment opportunities for SMEs to guarantee employment and wealth creation through the Export Development Fund, EDF, a pre-shipment grant to boost exports.
Given the high population of Nigerians around the world in some major cities like Johannesburg, London, as well as Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas – both in the United States, Awolowo said the council intended to promote the creation of “Nigerian Towns” in these places to facilitate the export of local products and foods by Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Awolowo said plans were underway to establish regional trade and investment offices in some major cities of the world, including Brazil, London, the U.S. and the Middle East, to promote Nigeria’s trade.
In his response, Monaghan implored the council to open-up trade offices in some countries that were major importers of Nigeria’s products, to promote Nigerian trade with such countries.
He identified some of the problems involved in promoting Nigerian exports abroad to include inadequate funding of Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions to drive government trade and investment programmes.
Other problems were associated with inadequate training of the Commercial Attaches to the embassies to enable them handle trade and investment issues.