Its time to get down to real export details for Niger Delta business people – Joe Itah

(L-r): Dr. Chukwuogo Victor MD of VOC Royal Resources Nigeria Ltd.; Dr. Ifeanyi Ogbu President of Young Exporters Cooperative of Nigeria & Mr. Joe Itah NEPC Regional Coordinator South-South at the Workshop on Accessing Foreign Buyers for Nigerian Agro Products organised by NEPC office in Port Harcourt

The South-South office of the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) has recently been upbeat in mobilizing and grooming potential exporters in the region. The Council has been giving general tips and collaborative links to exporters.

Now, the zone’s coordinator, Dr Joe Itah, told newsmen that it is time for serious exporters to be taken through specifics to fly. One such scheme is to teach them how to find foreign buyers.

On Monday, March 8, 2021, NEPC organized a workshop where real exporters threw mind-bowing revelations that got the trainees on the edges of their seats.

In his opening speech, Dr Itah stated thus:

While emphasizing on the timeliness of this workshop, I wish to also declare that the program is equally quite apt especially as the Government has recently stepped-up efforts at diversifying the country’s economy through non-oil exports – away from total dependence on oil, as our major source of foreign exchange.

Economic watchers and citizens alike have often described our condition as an irony – wondering how our nation can be so endowed in human and natural resources, yet a good number of our citizens are in poverty. This is more worrisome because statistical facts indicate that only few countries of the World can match our country’s endowment. Nigeria’s abundant opportunities in the non-oil export alone are found in agricultural commodities, semi-processed products, fully manufactured products, arts and crafts, services and solid minerals, most of which are yet to be fully harnessed.

It is in realization of these huge potentials, coupled with observed lack of enough awareness on how to harness these opportunities, that NEPC deemed it necessary to host this workshop – to tackle some of the naughty issues (packaging exportable products and finding buyers) in the value-chain of attaining success in non-oil export business.

There is no gainsaying that finding buyers for your export products would be one of the biggest challenges you face as an exporter, especially when you are a beginner, or an old exporter wanting to enter a new market, much more an SME with little capital and limited knowledge to swim the intricate market place of International Trade.

I therefore, at this point, need to underline that as an exporter you have to always keep an eye on how to find buyers for your export products, because if you are not able to identify customers and offload your products, all your efforts will be in vain. Selling products in the international market has never been a simple adventure – considering various inhibiting characteristics such as diverse language, geographical distance, cultural differences, difference in respective Government policy focuses, and lack of market knowledge among others – which exporters have to overcome.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is due to the growing concern to subdue these challenges, and make exporters to gain more access to foreign markets, that we have today assembled experts in International Trade who will share practical experiences, offer useful techniques on getting your products ready, and provide buyers too.

I want to charge all present to take advantage of the meaningful discussions that will take place in this forum to enhance the transformation of their export businesses – as this would enable you contribute meaningfully to the growth of the national economy.

Let me commend and appreciate the resource persons: Mr. Chukwuogo Victor MD of VOC Royal Resources Nigeria Limited, and Dr. Ifeanyi Ogbu Team Leader/President of Young Exporters Cooperative of Nigeria – one, for honouring our invitation and two, for the knowledge they will share with us. I also thank those of you who are able to gather your finished products for our mini-exposition. Inspecting the products by all, would leave few invaluable take-home lessons for everyone.

Lastly, it is my fervent believe that the outcome of this workshop will go a long way in addressing our inquests. Build your networks here too, in order to grow your net-worth. While assuring you of Council’s support at all times, I hereby declare this event open.