NEPC Constitutes Inter-agency Committee to improve standards of non-oil export

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In the face of dwindling oil resources further compounded by the rejection of Nigerian items in international market, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has constituted an inter-agency Committee with the directive to achieve zero rejection of Nigeria’s non-oil export products and improve revenue earnings for the government.

Available records have shown that  Nigeria, compared with several other countries in the ECOWAS region is facing the most severe cases of rejection of exported goods with relevant economic consequences.

The European Union, EU, it would be noted  restricted until 2016, the importation of beans from Nigeria due to failure to comply with SPS and food safety measures for gaining access to the EU markets.

As a result, Olusegun Awolowo, the executive secretary, NEPC at the inauguration of the committee on Tuesday in Abuja  said the technical committee would ensure a consistent long term effort on ensuring zero rejection of Nigeria’s products in European markets and other parts of the World.

According Awolowo,”Agriculture dominated our non-oil exports in 2014 by contributing $1.4 billion, representing 53.99 percent of non-oil exports. The committee has  the target of ensuring our goods don’t suffer rejects again to appreaciate further our non-oil earnings. Nigeria could borrow a leaf from a country like India whose Mango export to the EU was banned for 2 years but was lifted in April 2015 after advocacy and strict adherence and compliance to food safety and quality measures were implemented”

The terms of reference for the committee include: Propose a standard checklist of requirements for the various classes of exportable products;recommend strategies that will ensure compliance and adherence by Nigerian exporters; propose measures that will enhance trade facilitation between Nigeria and trading countries and to propose measures to ensure bottlenecks associated with exports are simplified.

Others are: “Recommended appropriate capacity building and enlightenment programmes for exporters; assessing the present inspection and certification procedures; recommend measures to achieve a one-stop-shop for export clearance by relevant regulatory agencies; recommend means of ensuring regular interface between exporters and importers and developing a roadmap that would address illegal importation.

The World Bank in its recent report had estimated that Nigeria and other developing countries could incur a potential loss of $6.9 billion from rejection of ex portable items by 2015, due largely to not complying to standards and technical regulations, metrology,testing, quality assessment, certification and accreditation.

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