By Patience Aliyu
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has urged stakeholders in the Plateau business community on the need for improved trade facilitation to boost exportation.
The organisation made the call during its one day state-level workshop themed: “Increasing Non-oil Export through Trade Facilitation in Plateau” which held on Friday in Jos.
Dr. Ezra Yakusak, Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, while highlighting the advantages of trade facilitation and its benefits to the economic growth of the country noted that there are great gains for the business community.
“The truth is there are great potential gains from trade facilitation for both governments and the business community.Public entities will profit in terms of enhanced trade tax collection, better use of resources and increased trader compliance.
“A more efficient and transparent delivery of public services will allow the administration to maintain high security levels and effective government control.
“Traders will gain in terms of higher predictability and speed of operations and lower transaction costs, resulting in more competitive exports on global markets.
“Trade Facilitation strives to reduce the following: vast amount of bureaucracy, document requirements that lack transparency and involve duplication, lack of cooperation between traders and customs agencies, among others” he noted.
Similarly, Mr Samson Idowu, Regional Coordinator of NEPC, maintained that the global business community has improved in its approaches hence the need for Nigerians and the Plateau business community to do same as well.
“You will agree with me that more than any other time we need to facilitate trade, when we are talking about trade facilitation,we are talking about standardisation and simplification of procedures.
“Part of the challenges we are facing in this part of the world is that our procedures, our processes are not as simplified and harmonised as it should be, and we cannot continue to leave it to chance any longer.
“We need to work together as government agencies, policy makers and the private sector also, we need to come together and see how to simplify and improve on the processes, so that we can have a better economy and better processes.
“We are not alone in these processes, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) is always meeting bi-annually to discourse procedures on how to move businesses forward, but the effort at that global level is not trickling down here.
“So as an organisation, we felt the need to key into those processes, there’s need to key into the global and national dynamics and see how Plateau can benefit in some of these developments which are very pertinent and important to our overall business development and economic activities ” he said.
On her part,Mrs Chundung Chuwang Director,Ministry of Commerce and Industry, representative of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry commended NEPC for its numerous activities in the state.
She urged the organisation to be more proactive in ensuring that the right products and persons are given the effective support required in promoting businesses in the state.
“Like I said earlier, beyond the roundtable discussions, we will need to see tangible things, you can see in this critical moment, where everything is almost crashing because of oil price and petrol.
“We are calling on the organisation to be more proactive this time, let it not just end on workshops and seminars or report writing, we need to see where we are involved.
“We are blessed in this country, especially here on the plateau where we have many untapped resources, the weather is there, the resources, both human and natural are there, but we are not exploiting them.
“This is a good opportunity for all stakeholders in the business community also to join hands with NEPC and learn,so as to improve on their businesses and the economy in general ” she said.
Also, Mr Dauda Gashi, Executive Director of Plateau Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (PLACCIMA), emphasised on the need for NEPC to move a step further beyond the mandate of trade facilitation and identity the right businesses so as to promote them accordingly.
“The mandate of NEPC in facilitating trade for export has been well made known to the people, I want them to move a step further, in getting the people that are really out with products,and are working on products for exportation, so that whatever they say in such workshops will be more effective to the right audiences and will make more tangible impact to them,” he said.
Gashi also admonished the organisation to engage on effective monitoring and evaluation of their outreaches to ensure effective utilisation of these trainings.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that some of the stakeholders present at the event are members of the business community, government agencies, private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) among others.(NAN/vitalnewsngr.com)