Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Youths in Nigeria have been urged to take advantage of the Youth Export Development Programme (YEXDEP) to advance their potentials in non-oil export business.
YEXDEP was created by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), as a special platform for mainstreaming youths in the non-oil sector.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo explained that YEXDEP was designed to take interested Nigerian youths through a whole process of non-oil export procedures and documentations in practical terms.
Awolowo spoke in Asaba, Delta State while delivering a keynote address at a Non-Oil Export Technical Session organised for youths in the state.
Represented by Olu Ikulojolu, Awolowo said NEPC could have done better in the past four decades when it was established if Nigerian youths were engaged under a special platform.
“In over four decades of our existence, we have made significant progress on the core mandate. We are however aware that we could have done better in major areas like product and market development if we had engaged the Nigerian youths under a special platform,” he said.
Awolowo listed major challenges inhibiting youth business initiatives to include limited access to finance; limited access to network; limited access to trade information; limited access to export related skills; limited access to youth specific trade supports; and lack of favourable administration and regulatory framework.
“It is therefore imperative that relevant stakeholders such as government institutions, development partners, the non-government organisations to come together to ensure and help our youths to break barriers and connect youth entrepreneurs to the market.
“In view of the above and within the context of the YEXDEP four major schemes have been identified to achieve the objectives of the programme. They are Youth Enterprise Development Scheme, Youth Market Access Scheme, Youth Exporters Purse and Diaspora Youth Engagement Scheme,” he added.
Also speaking, the Trade Promotion Advisor of NEPC, Asaba Export Assistance Office, Mr.Peter Onokpasa said the council has over the years rolled out projects aimed at harnessing and increasing production of non-oil products for export.
Onokpasa added that the council was poised to build capacity of youths venturing into export business in the state.