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Develop antifraud template before reactivating Export Expansion Grant—Expert

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In view of the latest signal by the Federal Government to reactivate the suspended Export Expansion Grant (EEG) with the sum of N13.28bn so as to stimulate non-oil exports, a development economist, Dr. Ken Igboanugo, has called for a fraud proof access template.

Speaking on the sidelines of a one-day day quarterly Business Intelligence Discuss (BID) on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), organized in Lagos on Monday by Business Hilights Online Publications, he argued that “If it has been discovered that earlier regime of the grant was marred with serial abuse, stopping it does not solve the problem, but coming up with an antifraud template”.

“Nigeria remains a developing economy that is in dire need of agro export promotion and we are not doing that yet. In fact to me, the reintroduction of EEG is belated,” Dr Igboanugo stressed.

It would be recalled that EEG is an initiative of the Federal Government designed to encourage exporters of non-oil products, including agro-commodities in order to cushion the effects of infrastructural deficiencies and reduce the overall unit cost of production.

It was introduced through the Export Incentives and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, Cap 118 of 1986 to enhance the contributions of non-oil export to the national economy

The mechanism is such that a financial credit is applied to the value of exports of products from Nigeria, ranging from five per cent to 30 per cent.

The financial credit is not cash funded but provided as Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate, which can be applied against import duties on other items.

However, it was suspended by the Federal Government following allegations of abuse of the scheme by exporters.

In a statement issued from the Office of the Minister of National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, government announced that “Government is also reactivating the Export Expansion Grant Scheme and the Export Development Fund Scheme, with the sum of N13.28bn provided in the 2018 budget.

“We have, therefore, prioritised improvements in the business climate to make Nigeria an attractive place for business to be conducted.”

While noting that the objective of government’s economic agenda was to get to a point that the country would be able to feed its people and have extra for export, Udoma added that “We will be able to manufacture many of our basic requirements. We will be able to grow our non-oil exports to overtake our oil exports in value.”

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