Exporters need storage facilities, incentives, product packaging centre – NSC
…as Shippers’ Council promotes export through advocacy programmes
Nigerian commodity exporters want the Federal Government to establish at different geo-political zones, centre for value addition and packaging of products before they can be exported, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has said.
Speaking as a guest on Maritime Today, a show on Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1FM, Lawal Samaila Abdullahi, a member of the governing board of the Council, said exporters want government to unify and harmonise international trade processes and procedures, as well as incentives to give them the financial strength needed to venture into export business.
“Exporters also need capacity building in terms of training. The most important expectation is the provision of storage facilities for storing and drying of their products especially during the rainy season. This is why cocoa farmers are having problems because if their products are not properly dried, they may be damaged or even be rejected at the point of export,” said Abdullahi, who doubles as a member of Commodity and Establishment Committee of the Council.
According to him, the major role of Shippers’ Council as a regulatory agency, is overseeing import and export matters to ensure that aside from oil revenue, the nation can generate money from the export of non-oil commodities, which is why the government has been creating incentives through many agencies to drive non-oil export.
He identified obstacles to export to include issues around logistics especially transporting farm produce from the farms to the port, lack of adequate information concerning export, inadequate financial support to exporters, lack of needed infrastructure, and lack of collaboration among agencies in the export chain towards driving export.
“The Shippers’ Council through the Commodity Committee is supporting exporters, whom we identify as groups and associations. The Council has been going round meeting with all these associations and encouraging those that have not to come together,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “The Commodity Committee has been working to streamline one-point agenda on commodity export like the NEXIM Bank, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and others. Recently, the Federal Government has set aside a section in the Central Bank to support exporters.
While listing some of the exportable commodities, which include cocoa, rubber, wool, palm oil, yam, cotton, honey, ginger and garlic, Abdullahi, said that people complain of not having access to the CBN grant due to lack of knowledge.
“Such people are not properly informed on the procedure to follow to get these grants, and that is one of the things that the Council is doing by educating, mobilising and enlightening people to understand the processes of export.
Noting that exporters are also paying unnecessary taxes to security officials while moving their export goods to the Ports, he said the Shippers Council is facilitating the establishment of Inland Container Depots (ICD), which is equivalent to seaport located in the hinterland to enable exporters to easily move their produce from the farm to the nearest ICD, reduce bottleneck, unnecessary rent-seeking on the road and delays.