From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, launched the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) and online Grant Management Portal, promising to secure, create jobs and support resilience to shore up foreign exchange in the country.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who disclosed this during the EEFP launch, said the move was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EFFP, he said, is a N50 billion intervention to support export businesses, cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguard jobs and de-risk the economy from shocks for non-oil export sector.
The former Ekiti State governor said if there was one lesson the nation learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the lesson of resilience.
He said in the era of a pandemic, nothing defined a nation more than how its leaders and people rise to the seismic crises that manifest, often without warning and must be confronted one way or the other.
“I have stressed before and maintain that export growth is at the centre of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment’s strategy for diversifying Nigeria’s sources of foreign exchange and reducing the vulnerability of the economy to external shocks. We have witnessed time and again, the devastating impact that events outside our control can have on our livelihoods due to our reliance on a primary source of foreign exchange.
“The primary goal of the Export Expansion Facility is to increase Nigeria’s export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term. It will also provide economic incentives to ease the economic effects of COVID-19 on players in the export sector, fast track the zero oil plan to create jobs and further expand other avenues to earn foreign exchange in Nigeria other than crude oil. Essentially, the EEFP will ‘save jobs and create Jobs’,” Adebayo said.
Adebayo said EEFP has also triggered the launch of the Export Development Fund (EDF) according to Act CAP E19 law of the Federation 2004.
“The ultimate aim of the EEFP as an intervention following the devastating economic effects of COVID-19 to exporters and MSMEs in Nigeria is to save jobs, create jobs, support resilience in shoring up foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of Nigeria’s economy and acceleration of economic growth and economic support,” Adebayo said.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, said the programme was designed by the Federal Government to cushion the devastating effects and incentivise key sectors of the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Export Expansion Facility gives impetus to the work of the government on moving the economy of the country away from mainly depending on oil towards making non-oil exports a major contributor to the country’s foreign exchange revenue.
“We have organised the structure under seven strategic focus areas namely – Capacity Building, Export Aggregation, Export Inclusion, Emergency Intervention, Export Trade Facilitation, Institutional Strengthening and Market Development. These work streams operate under a programme office domiciled in the Nigeria Export Promotion Council.
“As we officially launch the EEFP, it is important to demonstrate we will be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability, efficiency and information. To this end, as we launch the EDF, we will apply the use of technology through the Grant Management Portal which ‘Goes live’ today that we will be equalising opportunities to achieve inclusive economic growth through non-oil exports,” he said.
Jigawa Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, said the EDF flag off was long awaited since the enactment of the Export and Miscellaneous Act 2004, 17 years ago.