By Gabriel Olawale—ABUJA
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, on Thursday, inaugurated an 11-man Steering Committee for the implementation of the Export Expansion Facility Programme, EEFP, under the National Economic Sustainability Plan.
The EEFP aims to protect export businesses from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguard jobs and de-risk the economy from shocks like COVID.
Its primary goal is to increase Nigeria’s export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term.
The Federal Government will spend an estimated N2.3 trillion to fund the National Economic Sustainability Plan, but the N50 billion Export Expansion Facility programme will focus on driving economic growth through exports.
The minister stated this when he stressed that the facility is targeted at providing support to exporters particularly micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, MSMEs.
He said: “Export growth is at the centre of our strategy for diversifying Nigeria’s sources of foreign exchange and reducing the vulnerability of the economy to external shocks.
“We have witnessed time and again, the devastating impact that events outside our control can have on our livelihoods due to our reliance on a primary source of foreign exchange.”
Giving an overview of the EEFP, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, commended the Federal Government for approving the Facility.
He pointed out that monetary stimulus package, as provided in the Facility, will significantly help in reviving not only the SMEs, but also big corporations in the non-oil export sector that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Awolowo said: “The Act stipulates that the Funds especially (Export Development Fund and Export Adjustment Scheme Fund), shall be used to provide financial assistance to exporting companies to cover their expenses in respect of export promotion activities.
“The Export Expansion Facility programme is tagged #pandemic2prosperity.”
In his remarks, Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, Chairman of NEC Committee on Export Promotion, acknowledged the efforts of the President and the Vice President in driving the diversification of the country’s economy away from oil.
Also speaking, Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, expressed confidence in the Federal Government’s ability to achieve economic growth through support for SMEs and MSMEs.
Other members of the committee present at the virtual inauguration session are Mansur Ahmed (President, MAN); Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu (President, NACCIMA); Mrs. Saratu Umar; Mr. Suleiman Audu (Director, FMITI); Mr. Kamar Barkin, and Dr Ahmed Bashar.