The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Segun Awolowo has disclosed that Nigeria has a lot to contribute to the international market place through non-oil products.
Speaking while hosting the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Awolowo Stated that “Madam DG, today, I am sure you already know this, but let me repeat for emphasis, that Nigeria has a whole lot to contribute to the international marketplace by way of Non-Oil Exports. Hence our vision to make the world a marketplace for Nigeria’s non-oil products and services.
“We continue to strive for a Nigeria that can survive a world in which we no longer sell oil, the Zero Oil Plan is a roadmap that defines the path to achieving this”.
He explained that it was important Nigeria tap into the full potential of the country’s blessed resources and transcend into revenue for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the economy generally.
“Very early on in my administration, we created a Women in Export Division at NEPC, with women desk officers in all the Regional and Export Assistance offices to provide institutional support and advisory services for Women-Owned Businesses (WOBs), with the ultimate goal of increasing the participation of women in trade. We also redesigned our exporter license form to allow us to collect disaggregated data to help us identify WOBs.
“So far, several interventions and programmes have been carried out to build the capacity of women and increase their competitiveness in the global export market.
“NEPC has organised stakeholders’ engagement in all 6 geopolitical zones to bring more women-owned businesses into global trade, undertaken surveys and data gathering to understand the unique features of women-owned businesses across the country.
We have also formed clusters for some products with high participation of women down the value chain such as Hibiscus, Textile & Apparel, Sesame seed, Cotton, Moringa and Shea, based on a better understanding of their requirements to ensure targeted support. Partnerships have also been forged to drive financial inclusion, empowerment and easy registration of WBOsthe ED stated.
Awolowo further explained that “in recognition of Nigeria’s efforts to drive the SheTrades initiative, Nigeria was included in the pilot of SheTrades in the Commonwealth programme (2018-2021), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), launched during CHOGM 2018.
“We have made significant progress with implementing our commitments towards SheTrades, working with partners, a lot of women-owned MSME businesses have benefitted from capacity building programmes and gained market access for their products,” he said.
The Director-General of WTO, Dr Ngozi Iweala commended the Council’s effort in empowering women in the business sector.
She regretted that in the general society, much potentials from the woman folks have remained untapped.
Dr Iweala promised to work with NEPC to build more capacity for Nigerian women in business in order to boost their capacity for export.
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