Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government is working to leverage the cast opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AFCFTA, to deepen its international trading through non-oil exports.
Adebayo said this during an interactive dinner for Ambassadors/High Commissioners and development partners in Nigeria over the weekend in Abuja, also said the meeting was aimed at enhancing the existing multilateral cordial relationship with Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Commodities and Export Department in the ministry, Mr. Suleiman Audu, the Minister described NEPC’s initiative in promoting non-oil exports and increasing the market share as pro-active and urged other agencies under the ministry to emulate the action.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Export Promotion Council ,NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak, reststed the agency’s commitment to collaborate with key stakeholders in developing and promoting the non-oil export sector.
According to Yakusak, “NEPC cannot effectively discharge its duties without your individual or collective support.
“We have had occasions where our trade fairs were marred by denial of visas to selected exporters and our staff.
“Most of these occur at the last minute, when all other arrangements had been concluded thereby making it difficult for us to successfully execute such programmes.
“This is one critical area where your Excellencies can be of immense assistance to the council in our efforts to showcase Nigerian products to the international market.
“It is therefore my expectation that after this interaction, there will be a seamless exchange of information between the council and the various goods and services that Nigeria could trade with your countries,” Yakusak said.
He, however expressed the council’s quest to facilitate small and medium enterprises’ acquisition of international certification to access non-oil market with premium pricing.
According to Yakusak, the NEPC initiated the Nigerian competitiveness project tagged ‘Go certification’ to reduce to the barest minimum, number of export rejections of Nigerian products.
“The programme is intended to checkmate the numerous cases of export rejects and to also ensure the maintenance of minimum food safety standard in line with international best practices.
“Presently, a total of 101 certifications have been issued to various SMEs exporters with NEPC bearing the entire cost of such certifications like HACCP, FDA, ISO 22000 and HALAL,” Yakusak said.
He further said that NEPC had initiated the establishment of export trade houses under a public private partnership arrangement to further enhance the visibility of made in Nigeria products, facilitate market access and increase market share.