By Chukwuemeka Opara
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has encouraged entrepreneurs in Ebonyi to increase their economic activities to become major global players in the export of their products.
Mr Emmanuel Unanam, the Trade Promotion Advisor, Abakaliki Export Assistance Office of the council made the call in Abakaliki on Friday at a one day seminar for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.Unanam said that like in other states, SMEs in Ebonyi were engaged in various export processes and activities but had not performed optimally in contributing to the current economic diversification drive.“
SMEs in different products value chain in the state can also increase their activities to become major global players in the export of their products.“The NEPC has made concerted efforts at stopping over-dependence of the Nigerian economy on oil through commitment to export diversification.“This prompted the articulation of its zero-oil plan initiative which main purpose is to have an economy that does not depend on oil to survive.“The current export for survival campaign of the council is premised on massive production of pre-qualified and selected products (primary, semi-processed and processed) products,” he said.He noted that the seminar could position the SMEs in the state as players in non-oil export businesses, suppliers to export merchants and direct marketing.“We assure you of always working with SMEs and other critical stakeholders to achieve our collective dream of a vibrant and sustainable economic growth through non-oil exports,” he said.Mrs Christiana Ukwuta, Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Commerce and Industries, commended the NEPC for the seminar, noting that the state government would always identify with such ideals.“The state government realises the importance of SMEs in developing its economy as it offers them several interventions such as empowerment initiatives, funds to commence businesses among others,” she said.Mr Dick Dike, an official of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said the agency would always contribute its quota in the diversification of the nation’s economy from the oil sector.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme was ‘Exploring non-oil export opportunities in Ebonyi for economic survival’.The participants were tutored on topics which include stimulating export investments among SMEs in Ebonyi.They were also tutored on enhancing SMEs capabilities for export through appropriate finance support packages and facilities among others. (NAN