By Isaac Aqua
The Cross River State government has applauded the Nigerian Export Promotion Council NEPC for a concerted effort tailored toward diversifying the Nigerian economy by promoting non-oil exports to boost foreign earnings.
The State Commissioner for Commerce Pastor Barrister Mrs Rosemary Archibong made the commendation while declaring open a one-day workshop in Calabar on “Accessing Incentives and Finance for Export Business” packaged by NEPC for stakeholders in Cross River.
She expressed delight at the commitment and dedication demonstrated by NEPC in orientating stakeholders in Cross River towards exploring the viable export potentials of the state noting that such exposure would stimulate the local economy and checkmate over-dependence on fluctuating statutory allocations.
According to her “NEPC has done more than enough in galvanizing the export public towards harnessing the huge viable export opportunities prevalent in the state, the onus is now on us to pick up the gauntlet, team up and work our dreams to reality”
In a keynote address, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak stated that the workshop was informed by the urgent need to reposition Small and Medium Enterprises to access the multiple funding options available in the financial sector in order to guarantee their viability and sustenance given their vital role in stimulating local content in driving economic growth
Dr Yakusak who was represented at the event by the South-South Coordinator of NEPC Mr Joe Ita opined that” the workshop is also aimed at bridging the information gap in accessing the various export incentives being administered by NEPC in synergy with the Central Bank and NEXIM”.
He lamented that despite the cardinal role of SMEs in boosting downstream economic activities, most SMEs are prone to premature collapse due to porous capital base, hence the need for urgent action to curtail the dangerous trend.
Speaking, the Trade Promotion Officer NEPC, Calabar Area Office Mr Osas Omorogbe posited that NEPC would sustain the tempo of activities aimed at ensuring that the state harnesses its strategic geographical and rich natural endowments maximally in the export arena
In a welcome address, the Chief Trade Promotion Officer Mrs Sylvia Adeneye revealed that the programme was designed to equip intending and established exporters with the technical and prerequisite knowledge needed to explore available funding options in the financial sector.
Highpoints of the day featured presentations from Central Bank, Zenith and Nigerian Export Bank.
Participants who spoke commended NEPC for the Initiative and charged the government to prevail on Banks to relax their stringent measures and high interest.