The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says it is implementing a N50 billion export expansion facility programme (EEFP) as part of the economic sustainability plan whose development and implementation is being led by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The N50 billion funding follows the official launch of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisation (TPO) network on July 15, 2021.
Segun Awolowo, executive director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), announced that the programme is geared towards increasing the volume of trade within the ECOWAS region with Nigeria poised to boost its non-oil exports.
The EEFP, inaugurated by Niyi Adebayo, minister of industry, trade and investment, in March 2021, is part of Nigeria’s economic sustainability plan (ESP).
Adebayo had said the programme will support resilience in shoring up foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of Nigeria’s economy and acceleration of economic growth and economic support.
The EEFP is also a spin-off of the zero oil plan developed by NEPC and it is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria.
It aims to provide financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, establish top-notch warehouses in the country close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to global competitive standards ahead of their exportation.
It is focused on cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-oil export businesses, thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.
The programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries, however since the inauguration, it has received over 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which more than 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.
The target group for the funding is the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
At the launch of the TPO network, Osinbajo said there is a need to drive more inclusive trade initiatives and expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region with the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Awolowo, who is also the inaugural president of the ECOWAS TPO, said the network will work towards facilitating the ease of trade for our MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa at large, thereby building an army of exporters that will boost intra Africa trade.