N5bn export development fund ready for exporters, SMEs – NEPC

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has revealed that N5 billion Export Development Fund (EDF) scheme is ready for access by exporters and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Barr. Olusegun Awolowo, made the disclosure during a sensitisation forum on the implementation of Export Development Fund for the south-south region organised by NEPC headquarters Abuja on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital.

Awolowo, represented by the South-South Regional Coordinator of NEPC, Mr Joe Ita, said the fund was evidence of the seriousness of the federal government to diversify the economy and create a viable non-oil export economy.

He said with the export support fund created by the present administration to fund non-oil export drive, the country’s non-oil exports would increase leading to the corresponding increase in the global market share.

Awolowo said, “Exports Development Fund (EDF), a pre-shipment incentive which statutorily empowers NEPC is through the Export Incentives (Miscellaneous and Provisions) Act: cap 118 Decree No.18 of 1986, to give partial financial support in approved areas to registered non-oil exporters.”

He revealed that the scheme was dormant for years but commended President Buhari-led administration for approving the reactivation and implementation of the fund.

“I must categorically state here that even though this scheme has been in existence for a long while, it was far from being fully implemented and most often overlooked because of the simple reason of inadequate funds.

“As I speak today, government has approved the reactivation and implementation of the Export Development Fund Scheme to apply requisite intervention for the development and promotion of non-oil exports, with the sum of 5 billion naira,” he added.

On her part, the Deputy Director and Trade Promotion Advisor of NEPC, Mrs Pauline Ndulaka, said the Export Development Fund would provide both financial and technical support to private sectors, potential and exporting companies with specific focus on SMEs.

Ndulaka hinted that the funding was also to ameliorate the export value chain majorly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The state Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, commended President Mohammadu Buhari for giving approval for the financial support to exporters in the country.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Oliver Udoekpo, Akpabio said the state government would not relent in making sure it contributes immensely on exportable goods.

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