‘How to tackle unemployment via export grant’
TO successfully diversify the nation’s economy and create numerous jobs on a sustainable basis, economists and other experts have appealed to the Federal Government to support effective implementation of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG).
Specifically, they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to lift the ban placed on EEG by the past administration in the interest of exporters and jobless Nigerians.
They explained that export is capable of providing solution to the growing unemployment problem confronting the country.
They argued that most economies develop local incentives that assist exporters of value-added products in managing their operational costs; ensuring maximal business profits as well as makes returns to the Government.
Speaking at the end of a forum tagged: “Money for business conference”, in Lagos, the Managing Director of Success Edge International Limited, Godwin Oyefeso explained that export has a large market supply chain, adding that it can provide employment for millions of unemployed youths and others.
He said:”The export chain starts right from the agriculture expansion scheme. If Government pays required attention, it will take many unemployed Nigerians from the street. “Also, those who buys the products from the farm, the processing and all the rest can conveniently provide jobs for many, without everybody coming to the city to search for unavailable jobs.”
He explained that the suspension of the EEG scheme by Government has generated “several criticisms from agro-processors and players in the value-addition sector”, describing it as a disincentive to raw and processed commodities’ export.
He said: “In assisting exportation of non-oil products, Government came up with EEG to give up to about N5 million, but was increased to N10 million. It was stopped under the last administration and since then, things have not been easy for those exporters operating on a small scale.
“Basically, the EEG is not a loan, it is a grant but the scheme has been stopped. However, we believe the present administration will see the need for it to be revived”.
According to Oyefeso, Success Edge, as part of its social responsibilities organised the one-day sensitisation programme for the public on how to get finance for export trade and other small and medium scale entrepreneur.
He condemned policy summersault on the part of Government, adding that, “The major challenge in the import trade is policy inconsistency, there is no stream-line policy, every Government comes up with its policy and this is not a good development for the industry.”
Speaking in a similar vein, former branch manager of Fidelity Bank, Wale Badmus in his presentation, said: “In today’s economy, it is believed that growth will come from private enterprises, from businesses, from industrial investing, designing, manufacturing, exporting and expanding frontiers.
“Today, commodity export is rapidly gathering momentum and positioning as alternate export items needed to maintain favorable balance of payment for the Nation.”
Speaking on financing options for export growth in Nigeria, Badmus said, “there are various finance option for the entrepreneurs. Personal savings, partnership options with a legally executed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), loans from commercial banks, Government loans and grants, microfinance support and suppliers credit”
He explained that there are assistance from Government in support of export like Export Expansion Grant (EEG), Export Development Funds (EDF), Duty Drawback Suspension, Export Adjustment Funds Scheme and Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).
Badmus said: “To make non-oil export growth achievable, Government has a role to clear the barriers to expansion by critically examining every policy to ensure it doesn’t act as a brake on recovery.”
He added that for sustainable, long-term growth in manufacturing, “there is need to encourage innovation and investment across a much wider range of industrial sectors.”