SMEDAN to push Nigeria’s non-oil export earnings to 35bn dollars annually

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has declared its readiness to push up the nation’s yearly earnings in non-oil exports to 35 billion dollars in the next five years.

The director-general of SMEDAN, Mr. Charles Odii, disclosed this during a three-day capacity-building programme on packaging and branding of products for AfCFTA on Tuesday in Uyo.

The DG represented by the Acting Director, Partnership and Coordination Department of SMEDAN, Professor Adeyinka Fisher, noted that in the first six months of 2022, Nigeria racked in a total revenue of 2.5 billion dollars in non-oil exports.

He said, “The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) once ranked Nigeria as the 49th largest export economy in the world, having exported goods worth 47.8 billion dollars and imported goods worth 39.5 billion dollars.

“Nigeria’s non-oil export is projected to hit 25 billion dollars by 2025, from 2.7 billion in 2022, according to Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

“May I express the determination of SMEDAN to push Nigeria’s export target to 35 billion US dollars per annum over the next five years?”

Odii noted that the Agency has mapped out several plans to achieve its goal, including sustained and vigorous training of entrepreneurs on packaging and branding of products to promote value addition.

“We will increase the number of SMEs that meet AfCFTA standards and those of other international markets to enhance cluster development and improved common processing facilities and value addition.

“We will increase access to global business information, enhance regional integration, and ensure increased turnover for SMEs.”

He noted that one of the challenges confronting Nigerian exporters was rejection and under-pricing of their products in the international market due to poor packaging and branding, and inadequate information on the rudiments to function in the global market

The DG encouraged exporters to be seriously involved in product development to enable them to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to earn foreign currency and help generate revenue for the nation.

Earlier on, the State Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. John Etim who declared the event opened, noted that the state government will continuously partner with SMEDAN on product development for export.

On his part, the State Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr. Emem Bob declared the ministry’s readiness to support SMEDAN and urged the participants to take the training seriously to enable them to sell their products on the international market.

Our correspondent reports that the theme of the workshop is ‘Empowering Small and Medium Enterprises for Global Competitiveness through Packaging and Branding’ and was organised by SMEDAN in collaboration with Akwa Ibom State Government.