The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has unveiled plans to launch “Operation Triple Your Export” programme for exporters in 2024, as a strategic move to escalate non-oil revenue and expand Nigeria’s economic horizons beyond traditional oil exports.
The NEPC Executive Director; Mrs. Nonye Ayeni made this known during a stakeholders engagement with exporters at the South West Regional office in Lagos on Thursday.
In her address, Mrs Nonye Ayeni highlighted the pivotal shift towards non-oil exports as a priority focus for economic revitalization in Nigeria while emphasizing NEPC’s dedication to expanding revenue streams beyond oil exports.
According to her, the NEPC, as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda, is redirecting attention towards non-oil exports, aiming to diversify revenue and increase foreign exchange inflow into Nigeria. Ayeni underscored the untapped potential in Nigeria’s solid minerals and services sectors, which, if properly explored, could significantly bolster the nation’s economy.
The NEPC Executive Director stressed that the council is actively engaged in initiatives, programmes, and projects designed to enhance the volume and value of non-oil exports across the country.
Ayeni informed that efforts are underway to address challenges hindering smooth export processes at ports, including interventions to alleviate port congestion and logistic hurdles. She also promised that more certification programmes will be provided for exporters in order to improve their mileage and productivity in enhancing high volume of export.
Specifically, the NEPC Executive Director unveiled plans for the creation of Domestic Export Warehouses, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative in 12 to 13 locations which aim to streamline container access to ships, easing port congestion. This even as she stressed that through the “Operation Triple Your Export” programme, exporters will be able to triple their export process within one year to 18 months.
Ayeni urged exporters to seize this opportunity, expressing confidence that by eliminating existing bottlenecks and hurdles, exporters could potentially triple, if not quadruple their output within the stipulated timeframe. She also added that the council remains resolute in collaborating with various agencies to ensure the success of this initiative.
Anticipating improvements in the export process in 2024, the NEPC plans to establish a unified platform where agencies like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) can monitor and inspect exports.
She harped on the importance of packaging and labeling, citing instances of rejection due to inadequate packaging. She noted that collaborations with development partners will enhance exporters’ capacity through education and training on packaging and labeling standards.
Furthermore, she unveiled plans to incorporate a mentorship programme where large exporters mentor smaller ones to foster industry growth. In addition to exhibitions and trade fairs, the NEPC plans to introduce market orientation programs to familiarize exporters with global best practices.
In her words: “From the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President, much emphasis is now on the non-oil export. Before now, we depend so much on oil export and this time we need to pay more attention to non-oil export which will bring revenue and foreign exchange in Nigeria. The Core Mandate is of the NEPC is basically to promote Non-Oil export.
“We have to have enormous resources in terms of solid minerals and then services, which is another big area which we haven’t even explored yet. If you look at all those potentials and we do what we’re supposed to do, it is going to greatly help the economy of Nigeria. There are initiatives, programs and projects by the NEPC which some of you have benefited from. There are quite a number of things that we can do to better improve the volume and the value of non-oil exports in the country.
“We have realised that of the major challenge for exporters is port congestion. They also have the issues of logistics in terms of moving their products from their locations to the ports. One of the things we are looking at is having Domestic Export Warehouses that will help solve the challenges of port congestion where export containers can easily have access to the ship without delays. It’s a PPP arrangement and we have them in about 12 to 13 locations. Though some of them are not fully built.
“So our expectations from you is that although some of you are doing well, you the have the capacity to do more. We are looking at how we can triple your export. This is “Operation Triple Your Export” in the next one year to 18 months. We believe that if we remove some of these bottlenecks, and these tragedies, then you would have the capacity, to triple, if possible, quadruple, your export in the next one year to 18 months. We will remain committed, working with the various agencies, to ensure that this is done. However, there are some expectations from especially the large exporters. We expect that you would be able to triple your export, in terms of volume, and in terms of value” Ayeni noted.
Also speaking, the Executive President, West African Association for Cross-Border Trade, in Agro-forestry-pastoral, Fisheries Products and Food (WACTAF), Alhaji Salami Nasiru Alasoadua lamented that there is no proper structure in Nigeria in terms of trade policy. He decried that many exporters cannot expatriate the value for their exported goods due to issues of foreign exchange policy.
Alhaji Salami called on manufacturers in Nigeria to ensure they source for their raw materials locally particularly within the West-African region instead of going to Europe to lose foreign exchange. According to him, this will help preserve foreign exchange in the country as well as boost the capacity across trans-border trade.
The WACTAF President also called on the government to provide necessary infrastructure and policies that will ease the burdens of exporters thereby creating a friendly business environment where the export of goods and services can thrive optimally in the country.