With the dwindling oil revenues occasioned by the global price plunge and the seeming dependence on imported goods, calls for the revival of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) are mounting.
EEG has been on hold since the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan with backlogs of Negotiable Duty Clearance Certificates (NDCC) yet to be given to non-oil exporters. The current administration has also promised to continue with the suspension of the policy which exporters argued is hurting.
In the vanguard of its revival are the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) who are leveraging on the 2017 budget to renew pleas to the federal government to revive the policy which they argued will boost non-oil exports.
2017 Budget proposal had given indication that Nigeria’s dependence on importation would be reduced and this is buttressed by the proposal to allocate N2.24 trillion, representing 30.7 per cent of the 2017 budget to capital expenditure to pull out the economy from recession.
In separate reactions on Thursday, the two pressure groups again appealed to the government to revive the policy which they said could, to an extent, ease the forex drought.
“We appeal to the government to revive the EEG in order to boost exportation of the nation’s products”, said the President of the chamber, Mr Bassey Edem while reacting to the 2017 Appropriation Bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“This has been a major need of exporters, as most of them are not able to meet up with demands from international buyers due to low capacity.
“It should also interest us that a large number of informal exporting activities are going on through the nation’s borders; these are the areas we should look into urgently,” he said.
Kola Oyelola, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Export Group, while giving reasons for the revival of the policy noted that post-harvest waste had been a major challenge.
He said that the waste was a loss to the economy and should be addressed.
Oyelola said that availability of funds for processing of crude agricultural produce and other crude products, such as solid minerals, would reduce waste along the value chain.
Mr Kola Adeniji, Owner of Niji Foods, a food processor, called for adequate technology transfer, use of information and communication technology in the agricultural value chain.
He said that the government should consider creating more industrial clusters to cater for the large volume of crude produce wasting in farms.
“Most small scale companies face a lot of bottlenecks in getting the right regulation, cost of production and so on; the budget implementation should start from here; it is time to look inwards,” Adeniji said.