Business Hilights
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FG to resume suspended Export Expansion Grant before weekend to encourage exports

As part of Federal Government’s renewed efforts to grow exports, it will before the end of this week, reintroduce the key incentive scheme, Export Expansion Grant (EEG). This is likely to be activated with the paying of outstanding liabilities of over N200 billion to beneficiaries.

However, government said the payment will come in form of sovereign notes/promissory notes to non-oil exporters to grow exportation under the revival strategy being implemented by the administration.

It would be recalled that to boost Nigeria’s trade presence in the international market, government had established the EEG in 2006 as an incentive to cushion the effect of harsh business environment faced locally by importers and drive non-oil exports revenue.

The incentive, modelled after Brazil’s and China’s, was targeted at earning more foreign exchange, attracting more non-oil investments and creating thousands of jobs, while also making local commodities competitive in the international market.

The EEG, which was operated through the Nigeria Customs Service, with instruments known as NDCCs, was suspended in August 2013 by the previous administration which promised to review it. The review, however, did not happen before the exit of the last administration.

Some export analysts who barred their minds on the plan said it will serve as energizer to diversification of the economy through non-oil export and make our ports active once more.

According to Dr Salau Amosun, an export consultant, he said “One of the best ways to boost non-oil export will be to reactivate the EEG and make sure it gets to real exporters and not just politicians and portfolio investors.

In the submission of the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, he averred that already, the approval had been given by the presidency to clear outstanding debts and revive the scheme in order to increase non-oil exports in line with the zero oil plan and export promotion programmes.

Another pointer to the planned activation of the EEG this week stemmed from the European Union (EU) who recently made a case for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) being proposed to Nigeria and other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.

EU said it is not using the trade instrument to penetrate the market but enhance development.

In his presentation at the Nigerian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly business roundtable in Lagos, weekend, the Head of Trade and Economics section, EU Common Embassy in Nigeria, Filippo Amato, explained that the EPA is being proposed as a development initiative to reduce the high rate of migration of Africans to Europe in search of greener pastures, thereby also putting pressure on available resources in the EU countries.

Business Hilights gathered that whereas over 6,000 had lost their lives crossing to Europe using the Mediterranean sea off Libya, about 70 weekend lost their lives on the same journey to Turkey.

Citing the safeguard measures put in place to guard against abuse of the EPA, Filippo urged the Federal Government to consider the ratification of the trade deal.