By Emmanuel Acha
Enugu – The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has advocated building of warehouses along trade corridors in the country to curb informal non oil export.
The Southeast Regional Coordinator of the council, Mr Arnold Jackson made the call on Wednesday in Enugu during a courtesy visit to the zonal office of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Jackson said that informal trade in the non oil sector was one of the major challenges facing the diversification mantra of the Federal Government.
He said that such warehouses could be built along the non oil sector value chain either by the government or by off-takers.
He said that such facilities would be necessary to ascertain the level of transaction in the sector as well as generate the specific data on the volume of trade along the corridor.
Jackson also said that such facilities would help to improve on the quality assurance of Nigerian products as deliberate efforts would be made to standardise the goods.
“Exportable products stored in such warehouses will have the opportunity of being checked for quality assurance and graded before hitting the international market,” he said.
The regional coordinator said that there were empirical evidence that non oil export in the country had improved significantly in the last two years.
“Our major challenge is the activities of some exporters that try to maximize profits by cutting corners. However, the council has developed a programme for the training of exporters,” he said.
Jackson explained that the council would through its inter-agency collaboration with other relevant stakeholders mitigate some of the challenges in the sector.
He said that non oil export was the best way to go as the oil sector was no longer viable.
According to him, government is doing its best to optimize the potentials in solid minerals, agriculture, mining, processing and general services.
He appealed to state governments to elucidate the interest of their people in non oil export, adding that it had the potentials to be a huge income earner for the government.
Jackson said that they were in NAN to solicit for media partnership as the council set out to sensitise the masses on the potentials that abound in the sector.
“If you must make progress, you must partner with the media to sell your programmes,” he said.
Jackson called on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) owners to leverage on the ‘One State, One Product’ policy of the NEPC to grow their businesses.
Responding, the NAN Zonal Manager, Mrs Maureen Atuonwu, said that the visit was in line with the policy of the Federal Government on economic diversification and growth.
Atuonwu said that NAN has the potential and spread to publicise the activities of the council.
“We commend you for developing this relationship and we trust that it will be beneficial to Nigerians,” she said.
The zonal manager urged the council to leverage on the various products and services of the agency to promote their activities.