Saturday, 2 September 2017

NEPC ATTRIBUTES NEGLECT ON AGRICULTURAL EXPORT TO EASY CASH FROM PETROLEUM

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The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, (NEPC) has blamed the diminution on agricultural export on the easy cash flow from petroleum. Mrs Ikejiofor Azuka, who is the South-South Regional Coordinator of NEPC, stated this in Port Harcourt during a stakeholders meeting convened for the presentation of the newly approved guidelines for the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme.

Azuka stated that before the advent of crude oil in export quantity, agricultural products were the major export products of Nigeria, adding that the neglect and diminution in export status was not as a result of weak market demand but regretted that agricultural exports were deluded by the easy cash flow from petroleum.

She however, added that the current slide in crude oil price has awakened Nigerians to diversify and move away from mono product economy. She said that federal government in 2014 listed 13 strategic exports drawn from three core areas of Agro industrial, mining and oil and gas industries to replace crude oil.

In her own words: “In 2014 , the federal government of Nigeria listed 13 strategic exports drawn from three core areas of Agro industrial, mini/allied products and oil and gas industries to replace crude oil.”

She said that the council has introduced a policy trust zero oil plan which she said is designed to bring a future economy where Nigeria would be able to survive even at zero export of crude oil.

Also speaking, the Executive Director, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, commended the Federal Government for providing N20 billion in the 2017 budget for the settlement of 2017 export claims. He noted that the amount will help to offset export claims and reduce the issues of loss of revenue.

Represented by the Director of Export Development, George Enyiokpo, Awolowo noted that the scheme had been the only functional incentive for non-oil exporters until its suspension in 2013.  He worried that the suspension had impacted negatively on the earnings from non-oil export in the last four years.

He said the EEG if approved by the Federal Government will sustain growth and development of the non-oil Export Sector in particular and the Nigerian Economy in general.

In Awolowo’s own words: “I am glad to announce that the Federal Government has approved a budgetary provisions for the settlement of EEG claims with initial provision of N20 billion in the 2017 Budget for the settlement of current year (2007) export claims.

“This will eliminate complaints over revenue loss by the utilizing agencies. Also the Export Credit Certificate (ECC) which replaces the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC), is expected to cover a wider scope than just settlement of taxes. It will include purchasing of Government bonds, settlement of Government loans.” (Guardian)

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