By Linda Ike
The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Ezra Yakusak has retreated the council’s continuous commitment to reposition the sector for better performance.
Yakusak who stated this on Wednesday in Abuja during the NEPC media Retreat for Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) with the theme “Diversification of the Economy: The Role of NEPC” urged Nigerians to embrace export as the only means of survival as a nation.
He said the strategic plans is to position the Council as a unique brand that aims to create a set of positive perceptions and to spearhead the diversification of the Nigerian Economy by expanding and increasing non-oil exports for sustainable and inclusive growth.
The CEO emphasised the need for Nigeria to promote the “Export4Survival” campaign which is a patriotic call for all Nigerians to realize the urgency of engaging in non-oil export trade.
He saw export as a viable means of economic growth, poverty alleviation, industrial development and boosting of the foreign exchange earnings.
Yakusak said, “There is no doubt that the theme of this retreat “Diversification of the Economy: The Role of NEPC” complements the Council’s strategic communications which seeks to position the Council as a unique brand that aims to create a set of positive perceptions that not only represents what we stand for – “To spearhead the diversification of the Nigerian Economy by expanding and increasing non-oil exports for sustainable and inclusive growth”, but also the essence of what will be delivered or experienced by the exporting community and discerning public”.
According to him, the retreat provides a veritable platform of informing the general public of the council’s resolve to change the narratives of the non- oil sector as the tonic for rejuvenating the nation’s fragile economy.
He further explained that the retreat also has the propensity in building brand awareness, boost credibility of the programmes and activities of the council as well as generate the desired traffic to all our social media handles.
The Deputy Director, International Export Office Department of NEPC, Peter Njoku, revealed that 3 Export Trade Houses out of the 7 proposed to be established in different centres around the world to promote diversification of Nigeria’s non-oil export base, has taken off .
The Export Trade Houses(ETH) established in Cairo, Nairobi and Lome are part of the Nigerian Export Processing Council’s efforts aimed at facilitating export and creating international market for made in Nigeria products.
Njoku explained that the remaining 4 Trade Houses expected to be established in Hunan in China, Ottawa in Canada, Saudi Arabia and and Johannesburg in South Africa are still in the offing and will soon be launched.
Currentnews.com.ng reports that the Export Trade House is an initiative of the council to have a central location where Made-in Nigeria products can be shipped, displayed and distributed to different parts of the world.
Njoku said the ETH will create international market for locally produced products in the regions, as well as facilitating export for Nigeria and attracting investors for the benefit of the nation and its citizens.
Also, the Assistant Director, National Export office, Olu Ikulajolu, urged State Governments to key into the “one state one product initiative” for enhanced revenue inflow.
Ikulajolu disclosed that the NEPC is already working with states to constitute a committee to workout modalities for the success of the initiative.
He announced that the Council’s Youth Export Development programme, officially launched in January 2020 has recorded great success, adding that the programme has trained over 14,000 youths under the YED programme since inception.
Evelyn Obidike, the Director Product Development, disclosed that the council is working on value addition to ensure the seamless export of Nigerian products such as Sesame seeds to Japan and smoked fish to the E.U and America.
While addressing the issue of rejection of Agricultural products from Nigeria by some International countries, Obidike said it is currently being addressed by stakeholders involved to ensure all the rejected products get back to the market.
Speaking also at the event, Aminu Bakin-Kasuwa, the Assistant Director, Trade Information,stressed the need for Nigeria to diversify from producing one or singular agricultural product to enhance the acceptability of products in the international market.
He stated, “In diversifying the economy, Nigeria itself, even the agriculture itself has to be diversified. We need to change from producing one particular food”.