Recently the Federal Government rolled out a N50bn grant to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for exporters and players in the SME sectors to benefit and revive their businesses.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Barrister Olusegun Awolowo at the flag-off of the grant however assured Nigerian non-oil exporters and SME operators that the Export Expansion Grant would protect jobs and provide new ones towards moving the economy from pandemic to prosperity.
“You may recall that over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading rapidly all over the world, it triggered a devastating global economic development all over the world and Nigeria was not spared as reports revealed that there was decline in the global export supply chain.
“In its wisdom the Nigerian government sought to cushion the effect and strengthen key sectors if the economy.
He also told the participants that the facility aimed at moving the economy forward is to operate under seven categories.
“It is aimed at moving our economy away from depending on oil towards making non-oil export a major contributor to earning foreign exchange. It is under seven categories of: Capacity building, Export aggregation, Export inclusion, Emergency intervention, Export trade facilitation, Institutional strengthening and Market development.”
Assuring Nigerians on the deliverables, Awolowo stated further that, “It is important to demonstrate that we shall be guided by principles of transparency, accountability, efficiency and information. We will apply the use of technology through the grant management portal that we’ll be equalising opportunities to achieve inclusive economic growth though non-oil export.”
It was also revealed at the flag-off ceremony that the Export Development Fund due to lack of fund has never been activated.
“The Export Development Fund is a per-shipment incentive stipulated in the NEPC Act which due to lack of fund has never been activated. We are overjoyed by the facility which has provided the fund to support our teeming SMEs, exporting companies who over the year have been unable to access the active export expansion grant which is a post-shipment incentive.”
Awolowo was however optimistic that the grant would create and protect jobs in Nigeria.
“We are confident through this facility we’ll protect jobs, create jobs towards moving us from pandemic to prosperity,” he assured.
Meanwhile, to be eligible for the grant, exporters, intending non-oil exporters and players in the SME sector of the economy willing to take advantage of the grant must have the following documents: a limited liability company certificate from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), tax identification number and an export certificate obtainable from the nearest NEPC office or via the organisation’s website.
The three documents would enable applicants to fill the online form obtainable from nepc.gov.ng.