NEPC strategises to buoy Nigerian goods’ competitiveness
WORRIED about the high level of rejection faced by Nigerian goods exported to the European Union (EU) and other parts of the world, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has empowered exporters on quality criteria under its zero-to-export initiative to put an end to rejection of Nigerian exports.
The Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Segun Awolowo represented by a Director in NEPC, Olajide Ibrahim during a zero-to-export programme for new exporters, stressed that with the zero-to-export project, exporters now have first hand training and information on quality issues to make their products exportable to any country of choice.
In his words, ”Our zero-to-export initiative is all about bringing people to the rudimentary and exporters that do not have any knowledge about export to a pedestal and height where they have all the knowledge required to access the export market.”
According to him, the idea is to develop a crop of indigenous Nigerian exporters who can on their own export to the international markets without experiencing any form of challenge, maintaining that in the past, there had been cases of exporters swindled in order to get their products into the international market.
“This project requires theory and practice. This project has made so many of the participants an encyclopedia of exporters in terms of procedures and documentation. This is the first batch and we have about 13 participants but our intention is to make it a model and as we monitor the success, we will bring in another batch in an enlarged form,” he said.
He said with this project, exporters will be able to save a lot of their money that had been lost to rejects, pointing out that exporters prior to this initiative, do not take cognizance of issues of quality.
“With the help of our training, participants have been able to identify various qualities involved in the products they want to export. With the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON’s) laboratories to certify products, the quality issues affecting Nigeria’s product at the international market will become a thing of the past and the exporters now also know that they have to do the right thing to succeed in the international market,” he added.
He said the council’s aim is also to establish a robust pool of trained exporters that are well versed and experience in the entire supply chain process of the export industry in order to encourage and promote value addition export in Nigeria.
Also speaking at the event, the project coordinator, Kola Awe, identified the role of knowledge as a very powerful tool in accessing the export market, saying that the project will enable NEPC to provide a pool of professional and competent export agent and merchants to provide a variable supply chain link for exporters and exporting companies.
He said NEPC’s target is to train and establish in the first phase, 100 participants in various area of export; agro-commodity, solid minerals and manufacturing export and also creating a pool of export commercial executive with in-depth practical knowledge and training in field of product sourcing, inspection, logistics and freight forwarding.
A participant, Mrs. Asianah Cecilia said some of the challenges hindering the export market is funding and logistics, saying that a lot of exporters still do not understand the process of supply value chain involved in export.
She also advised exporters to engage the services of insurance companies, saying that with so much invested in the export trade, exporters will able to recover their goods should accidents occur in the process of transferring their products from one country to another.