• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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When NEPC drilled budding non-oil exporters in South-South

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For many days this past week, over 70 intending exporters were brought under one roof at Aldgate Congress Hotel on Abacha Road in New GRA2 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. They came from across the South-South geo-political zone.

The aim, according to the Joe Ita (PhD), head of trade information unit of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), was to drill them and close knowledge gaps that discourage intending exporters.

Read also: NEPC seeks to boost non-oil export in Niger Delta

The budding exporters were exposed to various experts in the export value chain who drilled them from understanding what export is to market research strategies and preparing the bill of laden and getting paid.

Welcoming the participants, the regional coordinator, Ganiyu Ahmid Gbolagade, said the essence of the exercise, ‘Zero2Export’, is to bring about all people interested in export but don’t know anything about it.

He said: “We need to train them to pass through the rudiments of export so that they will pass through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council and the Corporate Affairs Commission. They will also have to handle other documents that have to do with their products.

“It is also for them to know their products before they engage in the business.”

He said he has always advised people in the South-South to engage in export business because Nigeria can no longer depend on oil because “Oil has failed us and there is the need for us to inculcate the idea of exporting our products outside the country.”

Ita (PhD), Director, Trade Information Department of NEPC, said the strategy name is called #Zero2Export Programme for beginner exporters. He said the training is organized by the Division of Export Training Institute of the Department of Trade Information.

“The objective of this programme is after noticing the increased interest of exporting community in Rivers State and its environs, we thought it’s better to reach out to them the objectives of improving their knowledge and skills and enabling them to be better exporters because in the South-South here some produce.

“We need to harness them and see that government needs to improve on the generation of foreign exchange, and creation of jobs. We know that enhancement of living standard is gotten through the sub sector enhancement development and promotion of the non-oil export sub sector.

Read also: Customs join forces with NEPC to boost export trade

“So being here today to receive over 70 young exporters who are joining the export career and to impact them with knowledge and skills to them to do well in business.”

The business session started with presentations by Mobini Alemika and Afolabi Bello. One of the prominent topics exhaustively discussed was ‘Export Logistics’, which dealt with the physical preparation of goods and services in order to ensure they reach the consumers at the right time and in good condition. This concept of logistics in export includes Packaging, Labelling, Marketing, Insurance (where applicable) and Freight.

Export Documentation, which specifies the goods and services and the terms of sale, was also explained by one of the presenters, Alemika. She said that there were several documents in the entire process which include Commercial Invoice, Packing List, Certificate of Origin, Certificate of Insurance, and Bill of Laden or Waybill.

She narrated the six steps for building a successful Export Strategy which she named as: Start an Export Market Expansion Programme, Organise the Programme, Target High-Potential Export

Drilling the novices:

For the rest of the two days, the budding exporters were treated to lessons on export for beginners especially to understand that export is when you sell goods and services produced from your base (home) country to another.

The benefits were pointed as earning foreign exchange. It also leads to increase in sales and profit volume; enhance domestic and international competitiveness; increase in global market share, etc.

The drilling tried to first exorcise some export myths that hold people back, such as: Export is only for large established companies; The Export process is too complex; Only tangible goods can be exported; Export is too expensive; My company is too small to compete overseas; etc.

Now, the learners were made to understand the processes such as to register as an exporter, prepare products for export, secure necessary certifications, source foreign buyers & understand trade negotiations, make an export offer, design & sign export contract, understand Customs processing & Shipping, repatriation of export proceeds, & apply for incentives. They were made to understand the parties involved in export transactions from exporter, carrier, customs, licensing office, government, others till the importer.

They were also made to understand the regulatory and facilitating agencies involved such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), Nigerian Association Of Chambers Of Commerce, Industry Mines & Agricultural (NACCIMA), Federal Produce Inspection Service, (FPIS), Standards Organization Of Nigeria (SON), National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry Of Mines And Steel, etc.

The bottomline was for the intending exporters to understand that for Nigeria to survive and become a great nation we must embrace non-oil export.

The participants were made to understand that they needed to be export ready. This took them to module two. “Export-readiness refers to the preparedness of the business to export. It is the extent to which your business: Can comply with all the statutory regulations, both locally and abroad; Is ready to plan and implement the export initiative; Have products with production processes that are ready for export; Is able and committed to dedicating resources to the export process; and is geared to successfully carry out export transactions.”

The presenters tried to show what constitutes export readiness: Good Products, Production Capacity, Knowledge of the target market, Communication tools, and Administration Systems, especially to create export model from product to export and payment.

A major segment was making the participants to understand the classes of exportable goods such as aagricultural commodities, minerals, manufactured goods, services, arts and craft.

In manufactured goods, they learnt about Food, beverage and Tobacco products; Pharmaceuticals; Textiles, Wearing Apparels and Leather Products; Pulp and Paper; Chemical, Petro-Chemical, Plastic products; Machinery and Equipment, and Leather Products.

They also learnt about agri-commodities such as ginger, cashew, cocoa, sesame, etc, where Nigeria is ranked number one globally. It opened their eyes to see solid minerals such as gem stones, gold ore, metalic ores (lead, zinc, tin etc) and services such as the entertainment (e.g Nollywood Films), ICT, financial and banking services, and tourism have played prominent parts in earning foreign exchange.

It was important to teach about prohibited goods such as maize, hides and skins, scrap metals, etc.

They also learnt about product preparation and how to decide on the product, know the species available, know the peak seasons, conduct analysis & secure certifications, cost & price products, package and label product, prepare brochures, catalogues, and product profiles, and prepare samples for exhibitions.

Product sourcing checklist was shown to them such as to identify products for exports, locations of where to source the product, sufficient technical knowledge of the product in question, sufficient knowledge of product quality based on market specifications, and sufficient quantity to meet up with order.

Ranking of Nigerian products in the global market

The training went to more difficult areas such as market research harping on trade barriers (legal, Govt policy, tariff/quota); product or service uniqueness, quality, fashionable; resources (financial, human, skills); competition (is it aggressive?); public policy (subsidy or taxes?); pricing (Consider production, packaging, transportation and promotional costs), etc.

Conclusion:

These steps would make the exporter an expert and help win a market size to play in. The NEPC officials said this is how to turn people from the oil region into non-oil exporters. It is believed that this would make them become richer than oil merchants and even oil thieves.