Operators in the Nigerian real sector have urged the National Assembly to urgently approve the money proposed by the Presidency to offset bills incurred under the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme.
This they said is important as not to hamstring the entrepreneurs who have already incurred huge expenses in respect of the scheme managed by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Segun Awolowo had put the money at over N1tn, representing accumulated payments for years 2016 and 2017, adding that payment is expected to commence as soon as the National Assembly reconvenes and gives its approval.
“The government has done all that is necessary for the take-off of this programme. Right now, we are waiting for the National Assembly to reconvene and then they will grant approval for that promissory note programme.
However, exporters are pleading for prompt settlement of the outstanding bills so that they would continue in business, even as some raised funds to finance the exports.
Mrs Mojisola Adenekan, a medium enterprise owner, and an exporter of processed nuts and oil, while reacting to the development, noted that a prompt approval of the money would enable Nigerian entrepreneurs to consolidate on their business plans, saying that this could be very costly sometimes.
“Usually, you are expected to pick orders from different locations, which you spend so much money to execute. And when you do not get the returns on your investments immediately, your business could be grounded.”
She cited the fact that the payments being expected now by exporters were in lieu of previous year’s deals, observing that this would have cost much to execute.
“Sometimes, it is not easy to get bank credit. And when you do, it is on high-interest rate. Besides, the total money required by the export business is huge. If you do not get reimbursement fast, your business could be grounded”, she said urging for quick response by the concerned authorities.
She, however, expressed optimism that the members of the assembly would do justice by promptly approving the payment as a way of triggering increased activity in the export sector.
Godwin Odhiare, general manager of Sagenta Nigeria Enterprises, a textiles and garments processing company also said the Buhari administration needed commendation for initiatives targeted at boosting exports, but added that the members of the legislature should complement this gesture by quickening the process of releasing the money.
“Anyone who is genuinely interested in the Nigerian export business would appreciate the administration for the initiative. It was suspended, but he revived it, which is very okay, but as far as I am concerned, it does not end there. What would gladden the hearts the more is to see that the proposal has been endorsed by the Assembly and the monies paid. You know, there is a proverb that he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches. It is those who spend money in exportation that would understand the burden of not being settled on time”. There is need to ensure that noble initiatives involving our export sector are implemented to the latter”.
Earlier, the Chairman, MAN Export Group, Chief Ede Dafinone, had passionately appreciated the Federal Government for reviving the EEG, especially with the expansion of the use of the Export Credit Certificate ( ECC).
“As a result of this expansion, our members will be able to transfer the ECC to a third party and use it to settle all Federal Government taxes as well as purchase of government bonds and settlement of credit facilities by development banks and liabilities of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria.”
Mazi Jerry Ugwu, the General Manager of Leather Worth Nigerian Company, said for many of them are appreciative of the initiative promoting Nigerian made products, warning against anything that would negatively affect it.
“I would appeal to the members of the assembly, not to look at this particular issue from the point of view of politics. This is one area in which Nigeria’s image is being publicized abroad while at the same time bringing revenue. The exporters should be paid promptly”.