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Businesses Seek Revival Of Export Grant

Members of the Organised Private Sector have urged the Federal Government to implement the Export Expansion Grant following a drop in revenue from the non-oil sector to $1.6bn from $3bn recorded in 2013.
The Executive Secretary of the Organised Private Sector Exporters Association, Jaiyeola Olarewaju, noted that exporters had in the last two years, been sitting on a backlog of over N100bn worth of unutilised export certificates issued under the seal of the Ministry of Finance, urging the government to honour its financial commitments as regards the extant law.
He said, “It is paradoxical that one sector that has the potential to cushion the commodity shock has been paralysed due to lack of inter-ministerial coordination.
“Nigeria’s non-oil exports fell from $3bn in 2013 to $1.6bn in 2015. In 2014, the country had realised $2.7bn in non-oil exports. In 2015, exports of cocoa, Nigeria’s largest commodity, declined by 35 per cent whereas leather exports, which is the mainstay of industrial economy in the North plunged by 60 per cent.”
Olarewaju said earnings from non-oil export could easily cross $5bn.
He said, “If the EEG policy had been sustained, our non-oil exports today would have easily crossed $5bn by 2016 and brought an end to the foreign exchange crisis prevailing in the economy. The officials have been evading the issue by alluding to perceived abuses of the grant which led to its suspension. It is a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The exporters relied on the extant policy and repatriated forex through the banks duly verified by the CBN.”
He explained that while diversification was being advocated as the need of the hour to generate employment by boosting production in the non-oil sector, government should clear the backlog of unutilised NDCCs and exports made in 2014 and 2015 under the extant policy to sustain about 11m Nigerians employed directly and indirectly in the non-oil export sector.

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