By Matthew Ayoola
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has presented certification to SME Exporters in the country.
On the occasion in Abuja, the Executive Director of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak said the programme is under the Council’s initiative tagged “Go Global, Go for Certification’ with 40 SME Exporters as beneficiaries and the Nigeria Competitiveness Project jointly sponsored by NEPC and GIZ.
He said the Export Expansion Facility Programme would further be leveraged on for the certification of more SME exporters in preparation for the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AFCFTA.
According to him, accessing global markets has become stricter due to the ongoing pandemic which requires tougher inspection Regina at Border Control Points in importing countries hence the need for certification.
“These stricter and increasingly competitive requirements imply therefore that exportable food items must strive to acquire additional non-mandatory certifications to enable it compete globally” he stated.
The Executive Director explained that in an effort to curb the high rate of export rejects and to also build the capacity of Nigerian exporters, NEPC engaged a reputable certification experts to provide certification awareness training to Nigerian manufacturers and producers.
“The major objectives of this project is to encourage value addition against the export of raw agricultural produce and it will also facilitate SMEs access to certified niche non-oil export international market and to compete favourably in the lucrative International market while getting premium pricing for their products” Dr. Yakusak added.
Earlier, the Director, Product Development Department in NEPC, Mr William Ezeagu said the Council had trained over 2000 SMEs across the country on importance of certifications while 35 SMEs have benefited from NEPC sponsorship of certifications.
Mr Ezeagu said the beneficiaries of the certification had gone through the process of training, audit and eventual implementation of specific certification systems.
In a goodwill message, the Senior Programme Analyst from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fatima Amanda said the certification programme would boost Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in the country.
While pledging the Ministry’s continuous partnership with NEPC on the project, Fatima Amanda advised the beneficiaries to contribute their quota towards promoting the export of the nation’s non-oil products.
Some of the beneficiaries commended NEPC for the project and called for more initiatives that would enhance the capacity of SMEs exporters in the country.
Edited by Enuwa Ochai