Insecurity slowing hand of the clock for non-oil export in south-south and east but NEPC finds way forward

Segun Awolowo-NEPC Chief Executive

By  Ignatius Chukwu

The more the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) strives to popularize export business in the South-East and South-South, the more insecurity seems to cause obstacles and wind back the hand of export clock.  The Council however says it is not dithered, rather finding ways to keep the growth going.

The zonal coordinator, Joe Itah, who spoke at the sidelines of a training workshop for budding exporters in PH last week told BusinessDay  that the Council exploits the opportunities that have come their way leading to new ways of doing export business.

He said: “What readily comes to mind has to do with a lot of e-commerce, creation of platforms. A lot of exporters use to do heavy physical movements, but they have realized now how to host meetings on virtual platforms, tele-conferencing, etc. They have also learnt how to leverage on online trading platforms and also use their dispatch riders and courier legs to source materials and deliver items. 

Throwing more light, an expert, Ofon Udofia, executive secretary of Institute of Export Operations Management, said facilities and logistics that support export businesses are being destroyed in the region.  

He said: “There is fear everywhere. We must however still try to push for export business. Even in Syria where there is war, they still export because if any nation stops exporting, it crashes. Our strategy thus is to cover some percentages by doing what we can in areas where we can. Export business must continue.”

At the workshop proper, Itah said NEPC expected to achieve interaction for exporters that had just been registered over time.” A lot of them are budding exporters that hardly have had practical experience. So, we touch base from time to time to make them understand the rudiments of export business.

“It’s hands-on. They need to understand the details in documentation, issues in pricing and costing, and things that have to do with logistics. These things can pose difficulty to them. Even the risks in export business have to be alleviated and show we have to show them how to overcome them. We also have to open our offices so they can approach us any time in their pursuit of non-oil export businesses.”

He said a lot of people may have been faced with issues of lockdown and suddenly realize that if they have things around them that could be exported to create income and jobs to change their lives, why not. “They come to us. Another way is through some level of publicity and awareness when we do sensitization programmes especially in our bi-yearly magazine and a website that is interactive. A lot of people get in touch with us through these avenues. Some call to make inquiry and we trap them, put them together, give them some raining, etc. We also plan a regular sensitization programme in this zone.”