Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, has lamented the drastic fall in the export value and volume of the country’s exports from $3 billion in 2014 to just about $1.6 billion currently.
Speaking on Thursday in Abuja at the commencement of collaboration between the NEPC and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to improve Nigerian export capability, Awolowo warned that the dipping has not stopped unless something is done urgently to arrest the menace.
The CEO expressed sadness that manufacturing is almost dead in Nigeria, stating that, “you have to produce goods in order to be able to export. The quality of the product you produced also matters because quality is one of the determining factors that decide whether a product can be exported.
“We have been saying that Nigeria have to produce something in order for Nigeria to export something, so this is the drive, when we get our women and youths into small and medium enterprises, producing soap and butter of high quality and well packaged, surely, it will be exported” noted Awolowo.
He acknowledged that, the problem of small and medium enterprises over time has been financing. The CEO explained that, “we are working with the private sector and banks so that these businesses can have access to finance with low interest rate” he stated.
In her discussion with journalists, the Executive Director of International Trade Center, Arancha Gonzalez said her organization focus is to create trade opportunity to women and youth in the country.
She lamented that, discrimination against women in some parts has hindered the growth of businesses in the country to a large extent. Arancha insisted that, there cannot be any reasonable small and medium enterprises boom in any country without women active participation.
According her, “it’s about exporting and importing, what we want to do is to move from less value commodities into value added commodities. Small and medium enterprises are key in boosting the businesses of any country, pushing these companies to be exporting their products will definitely turn around the economy of Nigeria’’ added the ED.
International Trade Centre (ITC) has the goal of harnessing the potentials of one million women entrepreneurs into the global market by 2020.