By Ignatius Chukwu
The Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) in the South-South led by Mr Ganiyu Ahmid Gbolagade has been drilling fresh batch of exporters to join in boosting foreign exchange earning.
This is in view of Nigeria’s N11.72trn trade in 2022 which shows that export is the way to go.
NEPC brought experts and mentors to begin training of newly registered exporters in the oil region where everything export is being handed to them. One of the sessions took place at the large auditorium of the PH City Chamber.
Export is said to account for N6.359trn or 11.2 per cent of Nigeria’s 2022 gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria’s total trade value of N11.772trn.
According to an expert at the training event, Ken Itah from Calabar in Cross Rivers State, a total value of exports was 47,232 million while import was 52,068, showing a deficit of $-4.85Bn.
Nigeria exported 608 products to 136 countries while it imported 4,013 from 201 countries. Ita advised Nigeria to embrace export and turn the table because in 2021, the value of international trade was $28.5 Trillion, about 29.4 per cent of global GDP while in 2022 it was projected to reach $32 Trillion or 31 per cent of GDP. “In many countries around the world, it represents a significant share of the GDP.”
The expert said Nigerian participated in direct and indirect exports as well as other types such as re-export, government-to-government export, intra-firm export, service export, and virtual export.
On what should be good for export for Nigerians, Ita said anything except those on prohibition list were good for export. He named prohibited items as maize, timber (rough or sawn), raw hides and skin (including Wet Blue and all unfinished leather), scrap metals, unprocessed rubber latex and rubber lumps, artifacts and antiquities, wildlife animals classified as endangered species and their products (e.g. crocodile; elephant, lizard, eagle, monkey, zebra, lion etc. and all imported goods without adding value.
He enjoined budding exporters to consider steps to export which he named as getting started, taking the export decision, planning the export, identifying markets, packaging, understanding regulations, standards, export contract formats, documentation, shipping of goods, and export finance and payments.
In his welcome remarks to set the tone of the training, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (ED/CEO) of NEPC, Ezra Yakusak, who was represented by the Regional Coordinator for South-South, Ganiyu Ahmid Gbolagade, commended the determination of youths and women of the oil region to switch to non-oil export.
The ED/CEO said the day’s mentorship training was designed to equip them with the essential knowledge and skills required to succeed in the competitive world of international trade. “It’s not a coincidence that you have all chosen this path; you have shown the determination, ambition, and foresight to participate actively in the global marketplace.
“Over the course of this training programme, you will have the privilege of learning from experienced mentors who have been involved in the export industry for many years. Their insights, expertise, and real-life experiences will be invaluable to your growth as exporters. I encourage you to be attentive, ask questions, and take full advantage of this opportunity to gain the knowledge necessary to thrive in the export sector.”
He however observed that exportation could be challenging, and that there would be hurdles to overcome along the way, but assured that every challenge is an opportunity for growth. “The mentorship you receive here will serve as a guiding light, illuminating the path to success in international trade. It will also provide you with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of export regulations, market research, logistics, and customer relationships.”
Speaking for himself, the Regional Coordinator, Gbolagade, pointed to the consistent support of the Customs in the zone and the PHCCIMA leadership, saying their contributions have galvanized the export sector of the region’s economy as it has also helped to interpret the policies and efforts of NEPC in the zone.
The Customs Area One Export Desk Unit Head, Magaji Mohammad, who drilled the potential exporters on the documentation details and the prohibited item, assured of full support to all serious exporters in the region. He asked them to contact him wherever they had any difficulty and assured that only the 0.5 per cent fee stipulated by law was required at the Customs.
In a goodwill message, Emmanuel C. Nwankwo, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, paid huge tributes to the consistent efforts of NEPC and said it is one of the few Federal Agencies working round the clock to empower the people of Rivers State and the zone. He revealed steps being taken by the new Rivers State administration to mobilise and promote SMEs in the state.
Declaring the workshop open, the President of PHCCIMA, the Eze and Knight, Mike Elechi, summarised into five the key points he said any exporter must know, saying knowledge is power.
In her technical presentation, the Head, Trade Information in the zone, Sylvia Adeneye, said newly registered exporters to first decide which area of export business they would want to delve into and the product to specialize in. “You must identify the market you want to play in and avoid politically hostile countries.
Above all, she urged them to endeavour to be export ready.
The South-South Regional Head of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Chike Obiano, took the participants through the entire registration processes in the Agency, and showed enthusiasm to support the work of NEPC to groom young exporters in the region. He harped on the need for exporters to create and follow standard operating programmes (SOP) to ensure quality of products at all times.
An experience but young exporter, Malobi Ogbeiche, who is the CEO of Malobi Global Services Limited, urged new exporters to avoid fresh farm products, stay on one product, work hard on getting the first product, consider joining cooperatives to join hands and fill a container, etc.
New exporters had a full day asking questions and listening to responses from mentors.