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Why NEPC is desirous of promoting development of SME exporters

...urges MSMEs, exporters to take advantage of capacity building

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Thursday, explained that it is desirous of promoting the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) exporters through financial inclusiveness because finance has been identified as one of the foremost problems plaguing the SMEs in the country.

Finance is needed either for start-ups, running expenses, purchase of equipment, amongst others, said Olusegun Awolowo, NEPC executive director/chief executive officer.

Awolowo spoke in Asaba during a one-day workshop on “Available Financial Windows and Intervention Measures for MSMEs and Intending Exporters in Nigeria” organized for those in Delta State.

He spoke through the deputy director, Export Development and Incentive, Esther Ikporah, who represented him at the occasion.

Awolowo said that the seminar would not have come at a better time in view of the dwindling fortunes of the country due to the fall in oil price and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He recalled that the year 2020 was a historic and memorable year that saw the world economy collapsing under the weight of COVID-19 pandemic which submerged the whole world.

“Consequently, both the most advanced and developing economies experienced economic lockdown with attendant economic consequences.

“The MSMEs suffered great losses as a result of the forced lockdown of the economy, which also created a negative impact on the overall operations of the MSMEs in the country as many businesses collapsed as the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It becomes imperative that policymakers, institutions, businesses and leaders of thought identify and implement strategies and policies that leverage technology, foster favourable business environments and establish supportive financial frameworks and increase the competitiveness of SMEs in the country,” he said.

Awolowo disclosed that the capacity building seminar was packaged with eminent resource persons from the financial institutions carefully selected based on their specialties and unique financial windows and intervention measures available for SMEs.

He enjoined all MSMEs present at the event to take advantage of the meaningful discussions that would take place in the forum to enhance the transformation of their businesses to enable them contribute meaningfully to the growth of the national economy.

He expressed belief that the outcome of the seminar would go a long way in tackling the identified problems in order to further move the MSMEs forward even as he assured them of the council’s support at all times.

In his welcome address, the Trade Promotion Advisor of the council, Asaba SMART office, Peter Onokpasa, noted that the council had over the years rolled out products/programmes aimed at developing MSMEs/exporters to improve and increase production of various non-oil products for export.

He equally implored the participants to maximize the gains inherent in the programme by paying attention to the resource persons during their paper presentations and ask questions that would help them access funds for growing their businesses.

BusinessDay reports that during the technical session, resource persons from the NGX Exchange Limited, Fidelity Bank, amongst others, took the participants on relevant topics on how to access funds for their businesses.

In an interview, one of the participants and the CEO of Chief of Ikuso Resources Limited, Isaac Ikuakpogbe, expressed delight that the information they really needed were brought to limelight via the capacity building.

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