By Yemi Akinsuyi
In its bid to address the problem of smuggling as well as enhance the non-oil export growth in the country, the Federal Government has concluded plans to establish international border markets in six locations across the country.
Assistant Director Ministry of State Trade and Investment, Abubakar Aliyu, disclosed this in Abuja, at a press briefing on the third Nigeria Non- Oil Export Conference, Exhibition and Award (NNECEA) 2012.
He said: “The ministry has already initiated a project of establishing border markets in six locations to formalise the activities of exporters of non-oil products.
The assistant director, who said the measure was to serve as a means of formalising the informal trade, noted that, “the ministry will be working with all the stakeholders so that the quantum of trade in the sector will be captured.”
While expressing regret on the nation’s loss to informal export and inaccurate data capturing of the non-oil export, Aliyu said: “With the measure Nigeria will be better off.”
Speaking also, the convener and co-chairman of the Joint Planning and Implementation Committee of the conference, Femi Boyode, said there was the need for aggressive development of the non-oil export.
He said the there-day conference scheduled to hold between November 4 and 6 was borne out of concern that the nation survival can no longer be guaranteed based on the crude oil export earnings.
“Crude oil is a resource to which we have low contribution, we do not have any trend in determining the international price and we are so inadequate to influence the amount of barrel exported.
“In fact for some of us the discovering of oil has been a curse than a blessing. I personally believed that 95 per cent of the problems we have in this country can be probably traceable to the discovery of oil,” he said.
This, he said, included “unemployment, insecurity, militancy restiveness and the likes”, adding: “These have the immediate effects of harming our creative thinking. We no longer have the developmental cap in Nigeria we all depend on the export of oil.”
Boyede stated that the conference was designed to feature flourishing foreign companies across the globe will also help to teach its participants about the products currently being exported and those with high export potential.
“NNECEA 2012 is not a talk show and that is the reason why the conference is not on the classroom presentation format. The format adopted is actually an interactive forum approach.
Director, Special Services NEPC and Chairman of the conference committee, Mr. Olajide Ibrahim, said the conference was organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in collaboration with Koinonia Venture Limited.
He noted that the conference was organised with the aim of expanding the country’s revenue base by focusing more on non-oil products, in order to downplay her dependence on crude oil.
The director noted that the NEPC-Koinonia collaboration conference was in synergy with all the stakeholders in the sector which included NAFDAC, the Customs Service and other regulatory agencies.
Ibrahim also said a major component of the conference was the Presidential Export Awards, which was incorporated to support highly performing companies and encourage upcoming ones to work judiciously in order to boost the economy without having to rely on oil wealth alone.
“The award is not a social award; it is performance recognition as a tool that had been used by countries that are at the top 10 of the world’s economy. The company which gets the best exporter award will be a challenge to other companies in the sector.
“Every awardee has a citation for performance, value added to product, volume of foreign exchange that has been brought into the economy and contributions of such companies to Nigerian export activities,” he said.
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