• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Non-oil revenue: Delta spurs Deltans to embrace export as major business

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Delta/UNIDO Centre and Export Initiative has kicked off export activities in the state and has spurred Deltans to embrace export as a major business as the state makes efforts to demystify the business.

The business believed to be exclusively for few people and particularly men, is now made to also be for women, youths, farmers and cooperatives, even people living with disabilities amongst others in the state. Interested persons would be engaged in export activities in one way or the other as it is projected to be the hottest business in the oil-rich state as the state diversifies its economy.

Already, 200 exporters in the state have been identified for establishment and scale-up and they are profiled into Women in Export, Youth in Export, Brown Exporters and Green Exporters as well as the inaugurating of the executives of the Delta State Export Clusters.

The exporters are categorized as Merchant Exporters, Manufacturer Exporters, Service Exporters/Project Exporters and Deemed Exporters.

Ten thousand Deemed Exporters have also been profiled for supply chain of the commodities produced in the state, using the cooperatives and farmers. At least, 100,000 Deemed Exporters are targeted across the state. We are projecting sales to be about N20 billion within five years, said the Executive Assistant/Coordinator, Delta/UNIDO Centre and Export Initiative, Shimite Bello.

Bello made the disclosure in Asaba while addressing newsmen shortly after the unveiling of state’s Export Initiative and Exhibition of Made-in- Delta-Products, in Asaba.

She said that in the short-term plan, the state would begin leatherworks export, food and beverages processing for export, profiling arts and crafts for export, identifying fashion and textile for export and consolidating on garri export.

Shimite who was part of the committee on the state’s export initiative during the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s first term in office, said, “We’ve only done the pilot which is the garri but I’ve found out that we have been exporting to West Africa and one of our biggest market is Ghana.”

We are saying we want to see more people export to the different countries, especially the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and eventually do proper African trade, she revealed.

We want to do more African trade because a lot of things we do like plantain, oranges, periwinkles, crabs yield high earnings and we want to see how that can be done, she added.

Shimite who had engaged the exporters in online trainings within the over three months of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) lockdown, said that physical trainings would soon commence and that those who could not export even after the trainings could supply to major markets in Delta towns and cities.

“There are four types of exporters and every kind of Deltan can succeed. The Manufacturer Exporters do clothes, soap, garri, plantain flour and the rest of it.

“The Merchant Exporters, of which some of the people that supply to the markets like Ogbeogonogo in Asaba and the rest, are involved. We want to see how much of the products we can put on ship and send to New York or London as well, so that we can get foreign exchange from whatever sales they are able to make.

“The Service Exporters are people that do architectural work. You can see that presently, some people go online and buy architectural designs but most of them are not Nigerians yet we have Nigerian architects. So, we encourage these exporters to put a hundred designs online and then people see the teaser of one of the designs. They would have payment solutions online. They can also start selling and once somebody buys and the buyer does not live in Nigeria, it becomes foreign exchange. It is counted as export and there are some grants you can get on that.”

She wants the youths to maximize the opportunities and earn foreign exchange while making use of google and zoom through Information Technology (ICT). When you use Zoom and you pay some money after porting it, you are making foreign exchange, she said.

We have Cooperatives, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the rest. They are what we call Deemed Exporters. They are people that supply export markets, not actual exporter. So, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur, and you have an order for two containers, maybe you have enough products to fill one container. You’ll look for people that you can buy from to fill the export market, she explained.

She recalled that Delta State Government in January this year, had an agreement with the Nigerian Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank for N1 billion and expressed hope that about four exporters in the state have got approval for money from the bank to fund their International Purchase Orders (IPOs) while 53 were awaiting approvals by the bank as they meet the required criteria for the funds.

She expressed belief that more export orders would be coming within the next six months just as she informed that even Deltans at the grassroots would be involved in export. Next year, we would embark on townhall meetings in bid to make the grassroots people understand where we’re going and key into it (export business), she concluded.