• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


Nigeria can beat the world in palm kernel export – NEPC boss to South-South exporters


Nigeria can compete strongly internationally with palm kernels alone. To achieve this, Nigerians interested in its export should think of and develop capacity to move shiploads, not mere containers abroad.

These tips were dropped in Port Harcourt on May 3, 2024, by Nigeria Export Promotions Council (NEPC), Nonye Ayeni, chief executive officer (CEO), where he motivated exporters in the South-South to think more about non-oil export. She said they were the ones to push palm kernel for Nigeria because the zone is a big player in the oil palm value chain.

Ayeni who urged exporters in the zone to develop what she calls global mindset, pleaded with exporters and other business owners in the region as well as public sector support institutions to come closer to the NEPC to find out ways of boosting non-oil export business for wealth creation and job creation.

Ayeni was in the region to help boost export consciousness and participation, saying NEPC was ready to help from zero to export including access to market.

The NEPC boss reiterated the Council’s commitment to the South-South to develop and promote the non-oil export sector, while calling on exporters to have a global and value addition mindset.

The Executive Director/CEO stated in her opening statement during a one-day stakeholders interactive meeting in Port Harcourt at Golden Tulip hotel in Port Harcourt, that NEPC has a mandate to promote the development and diversification of non-oil export. She said the Council seeks to work together with non-oil exporters to develop products, help open them up to market access, and ensure that they have adequate information that will help them in their export journey.

“When we are talking about the development of non-oil export, it is a very wide reach. From the farm gate to market access.

“We know that at this point in the history of our country we cannot discountenance non-oil export. In the past we use to depend on oil but we have come to the stack reality that we cannot just depend on oil.

“At this point, non-oil export remains very pivotal for economic growth and development. It remains very important and critical for job creation and poverty alleviation, which aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda of job creation.

“So, a whole lot is happening in different spaces. But for NEPC, we are committed to ensuring that your products and the non-oil export are developed,” she said.

She further noted that the interactive session will enable the Council feel the pulse of non-oil exporters, reel out some of the Council’s initiative that they can key into to expand and scaleup, as well as let them know things the Council expected from them.

“Generally, we have products but some of us do not have the global mindset. In the South-South, we have lots of products and majority are grossly undeveloped and untapped. For instance, palm kernel which could be developed to a huge export product. If we focus on it with great intensity, the way it is done in Malaysia, you will be amazed that we will beat Malaysia hands down.

She therefore urged participants at the event to have a global mindset, and not settle for just one or three containers as it will not help them to scaleup and attract foreign exchange.

According to her, “We should begin to look at how to export shipload of non-oil products. That is the only way you can compete in the global market.”

She also stressed that the production capacity of every product is very important to scaleup, because even if the Council helps in creating the market access, consistency, quality and standard of product are key in retaining the market.

She revealed that a lot was expected from non-oil exporters in the South-South Port Harcourt. “You need to scaleup. We need to begin to see shiploads going out of this place,” she said.

The Council’s boss reminded participants that NEPC is not just for promoting non-oil export, it also promotes agricultural products, services and solid Minerals. Services from outsourcing, IT, fashion, to creative arts. She further seized the opportunity to reel out the initiatives by the Council that stakeholders can leverage on to develop the non-oil export.

“We have over one thousand agricultural products and derivatives. We have what is called ‘Operations Double Your Export’, which is aimed at streamlining products based on the production capacity and the global demand, so we can scaleup.

“We are also looking at value-addition; because when you export by picking a particular product and exporting it in raw form, you will probably get one tenth in terms of foreign exchange, but if you add value, you will be amazed that you can get 10 times of what you are getting currently.

“So, we should have the mindset of value addition. This is very key, because it creates jobs, you are alleviating poverty and apart from that, your earning capacity is increased.

“Under the ‘Operation Double Your Export’, we layered different initiatives. We have ‘Export 35’ redefined to increase the volume and value of the nation’s non-oil exports and earn foreign exchange to stabilise the nation’s economy.

She further revealed that the Council has the ‘NEPC Connect’ which was conceived to bridge the gap between the Council and stakeholders/ customers.

She however expressed concern that the Council sometimes has programmes that bother on packaging, labelling, and certification that stakeholders were not aware because they did not follow the Council’s social media handles.

She therefore urged participants to follow the Council’s social media handles to stay updated with the information and packages they can take advantage of.

The meeting brought together stakeholders in the non-oil export sector to discuss critical issues affecting them and for the Council to proffer solutions with a view to developing non-oil sector. The meeting also provided the avenue for the Council to enlighten stakeholders on initiatives they could leverage on to scaleup in the non-oil export sector.

The meeting had in attendance the Director Export and Development Incentive Department, Deputy Directors of the Council, the secretary of the Institute of Export Operation and Management, among others.