BPSR Boss proffers measures to reduce rejection of exported Nigerian agro-products
By Bridget Ikyado
The Director General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Dasuki IArabi has called for effective processing of Nigerian agro-products in order to access higher-value markets worldwide.
Arabi said it was the best way for exporters to reduce the current high incidence of rejection of Nigerian products.
The D-G spoke at the July edition of the Bureau’s lunch-time seminar, in Abuja, which focused on reform measures put in place by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to diversify the economy.
“The export of agricultural commodities such as cocoa, cashew, sesame seeds, palm oil, and other tropical products presents a tremendous opportunity to earn foreign exchange and strengthen our national currency,” said.
Arabi however said to tap from the opportunity provided by the rising demand for agricultural products, including processed and value-added goods, it was imperative for the country to process its products to meet international standards.
“Embracing technological advancements and promoting agro-processing industries will not only enhance the quality of our exports but also enable us to access higher-value markets worldwide”.
“By promoting the export of indigenous goods and services, Nigeria can tap into new markets, and create employment opportunities for citizens.”
He therefore said it was important to enhance the overall competitiveness of Nigerian products on the international stage.
Arabi emphasised that diversifying our economy and increasing export activities were crucial steps towards achieving sustainable development and reducing Nigeria’s vulnerability to global economic fluctuations.
The BPSR D-G said agriculture has historically been the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, providing employment and sustenance to many citizens.
“By maximizing the potential of our arable land and investing in modern agricultural practices, we can significantly increase our agricultural exports and earn more foreign currency.
“Therefore, revitalizing and modernizing this sector cannot only bolster our food security but also capitalize on the increasing global demand for quality agricultural products,” he said.
In his presentation, Dr Ezra Yakusak, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, said Nigeria has various incentives to support exporters.
He said these included the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), Export Development Fund (EDF) and the Export Adjustment Scheme Fund (EASF).
Yakusak said that the NEPC currently administers the Export Expansion Grant and the Export Development Fund.
“The Export Expansion Grant Scheme is a post-shipment incentive administered to exporters upon confirmation of the repatriated proceed of each export transaction.
“The grant is intended to help boost the competitiveness of Nigerian exporters and expand the volume and value of non-oil export.
“The Scheme has over the years brought about significant increase in non-oil export both in volume, value and new products into the export basket of the nation,” he said.
Yakusak explained that the EDF was a pre-shipment incentive scheme set up by the Federal Government primarily to provide financial assistance to exporting companies.
He said it’s aim was to cover part of their initial expenses with respect to export promotion activities.
“It was borne out of the dire need to focus on providing export support services to SMEs to enable them have access to international markets.
“The EDF concept was designed as grant to provide financial, technical and operational capacity support to indigenous firms especially SMEs, to expand local content addition to raw materials before export overseas.
“The scheme was reactivated and implemented in 2021 with close to 1,000 companies benefiting from the Fund. About N5 billion was disbursed, ” he said.
He further said the digitalization of the Council’s Operations was in compliance to the recommendations of the International Trade Center on the need to modernize NEPC operations.
Yakusak the operation of the NEPC has been fully digitised to protect records and data.
He said that apart from inadequate finances, the major challenges currently include “high incidence of export rejects of Nigerian products as a result of non-conformity to standards, certification, packaging, labeling etc.
“Also issues of multiple taxes and levies; over-regulation and duplication of roles by government agencies.
“Dearth of investment in modern port facility, inefficient port services and huge logistics challenges and untimely processing of incentive claims due to fund constraint”.
The NEPC Boss suggested improved funding for the Council, streamlining of government agencies’ activities and regulations as regards export procedures and documentation.
Yakusak also called for grassroot export awareness campaign, and continuous enlightenment and capacity building for exporters to conform with international standards.