FG to pay N195bn debt owed exporters in 10 yrs

NEPC reaches out to DMO for access processes

The Federal government has approved the payment of N195,089,234,808.64 Export Expansion Grant (EEG) arrears owned 270 companies from 2007 to 2016 in a bid to boost the country’s non-oil export.

Addressing stakeholders at a Forum organised by the Council on the implementation of the framework for the issuance of promissory notes at the weekend in Abuja,the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo said the settlement of the outstanding claims owed exporters from 2007 to 2016 is one of government many efforts in diversifying the economy through non-oil exports.

Awolowo commended Debt Management Office (DMO) for the assistance rendered the Council in access processes. “I want to express our appreciation to the Management and staff of the DMO for the cooperation and support it has so far rendered to us and our stakeholders as regards the promissory issuance.

“Let me also use this medium to appeal to the DMO to ensure the completion of the program within the shortest possible time. It is our sincere belief that the completion of this program will contribute a lot to the development of the non-oil export in particular and the Nigerian economy,” he stated.

Awolowo explained further that, the present administration submitted a request to the National Assembly for approval of the Promissory Note Programme a few years ago.

“It is our sincere believe that the assent in January 2019 by the National Assembly of the first batch of the request and the subsequent directives by the Honourable Minister of Finance to the Debt Management Office for the settlement of the EEG debt, covering claims backlogs of 10 years (2007 to 2016) for 270 companies with a total value of One Hundred and Ninety Five Billion, Eighty Nine Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eight Naira, Sixty Four Kobo, (N195,089,234,808.64) only, will bring succor to the export sector in particular, and the economy in general.”

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He noted that: “We also have positive signal that the National Assembly will soon pass the second batch of approval for the remaining 39 companies with a total value of about One Hundred and Twenty Four Billion Naira (N124,000, 0000 000) only.

“It is our fervent belief that the settlement of this inherited debt by the Federal Government will pave way for the revival of the Non-Oil Export sector of the economy. It will in-no-small measure enable the affected companies to settle their debts with banks and other financial institutions, inject funds for further export activities, generate more Foreign Exchange as well as employment for the teeming youth of our country,” he said.

The ED added that “statistics from the Pre-shipment Inspection Agents and the National Bureau of Statistics analysed by the Council showed that the country’s export earnings for 2017 and 2018 experienced an upward trend.

“There was a growth of 48.43% from $1.204billion in 2016 to $1.787billion in 2017, it further went up by 27.22% equivalent to $2.274billion in 2018. It is our sincere belief that exports for 2019 will grow by about 40 per cent, in view of the settlement of the exporters’ debt through the Promissory Note Programme,” he stated.

Awolowo said, “the Council has developed an online real-time portal for the processing and management of the EEG claims. The online platform will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders; processing Government Agencies, Auditors of the scheme, Exporters and other relevant stakeholders to submit, review and access information regarding the processing of claims.

“This platform, developed by Messrs. PricewaterhouseCoopers is currently test run and will be fully deployed between now and mid-May, 2019,” he noted.