By Abdul Sanda
The opportunity to benefit from training on how to start and build export business will remain open to develop the culture of export economy for Nigerians.
The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, said this at the Graduation Ceremony of the Batch Five of its Zero-to-Export training program in Abuja.
A total of 42 Nigerians intending to create and build export business benefited in this batch.
He said the programme was part of the Council’s efforts to reposition the non-oil sector, through job creation and inclusive growth, thereby making it a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“There is no doubt that the essence of our gathering today underscores the crucial role that non-oil export sector plays in the present administration’s effort at diversifying the Nigerian economy away from over reliance on oil as its main stay, especially with incessant fluctuations in oil prices,” he said.
Awolowo, who represented the Director Product Development, Mr. William Ezeagu, assured the graduates that “NEPC would continue to encourage Nigerians to take advantage of the diversification process of the federal government through the promotion of non-oil export activities”.
According to him, “Zero to Export programme is an effective tool of introducing companies into the export business, because NEPC recognised the fact that many companies desired to go into the export business but lack the capacity and skill to embark on the business successfully.”
The Council announced a provision of N500, 000 to the Co-operative Society formed by the graduating batch. This was expected to serve as a seed capital to enhance smooth take-off of the Co-operative Society in engaging in export business.
He advised the graduates to take the opportunity of having been trained seriously to strive to sustain the programme by involving in actual export business. This way the huge investments in material and resources deplored by the Council will be justified.
The Zero to Export initiative is one of the flagship programmes of the council that focuses on creating new generation of Nigerian exporters through practical and theoretical training of business executives, bankers, civil servants, unemployed graduates and even retired citizens with interest in export business.
The programme is anchored on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement led by the Consultant Mr Kola Awe of EPT Logistics International Limited.
The South – South (Niger Delta) in particular, was of particular importance to the development and promotion of non-oil export as a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. If nothing but to show that apart from oil there are other products that Nigeria can rely upon to grow her economy.
So far the programme has trained and graduated over 200 trainees from the Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja centres. Most of the trainees have formed registered Cooperatives, and are already exporting.