ORGANISED Private Sector Exporters Association has called on the Federal Government to reconvene the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Committee under the Federal Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Organised Private Sector( OPS) for them to process and clear the backlog of over N150 billion EEG and Negotiate Duty Credit Certificates (NDCC’s) owed to exporters.
The National President of the body, Dr. Victor Iyama, who made the call in Lagos, said the meeting has become very necessary not only to clear the backlog of EEG-NDCC’s but to also restore investor confidence and Nigeria’s credibility as an international trading partner.
In a position paper on Nigeria’s non-oil export sector addressed to the Federal Government, he lamented “The huge backlog of unutilized NDCC’s has paralyzed the non-oil export sector and is affecting Nigeria’s image as a reliable trading partner. The liquidity problem faced by exporters is having a negative impact on agricultural and manufacturing sector
“Since 2013 the meetings of the Inter-ministerial committee on EEG and the EEG Implementation Committee have not been convened to process and approve the EEG on exports already made up to last year and foreign proceeds repatriated.”
According to him, the sector has potential to generate employment and revenue for the economy, stating that from 2006 -13, the sector employed over 11 million Nigerians in the agro-allied value chain directly and indirectly and also boosted agricultural incomes from $ 1.0 billion (2006) to $3 billion.
“Nevertheless, non-oil sector has been facing a crisis since 2010 due to an arbitrary embargo imposed by customs to accept NDCC for duty payment. Notably NDCC’s are redeemed by way of payment of customs and excise duty. In January 2014, Federal Ministry of Finance suspended the acceptance of NDCC’s for duty payment by customs, although no official notification was issued to that effect.
“In reaction to exporters’ petitions, in December 2014, the Ministry released an allocation of only 5 percent of the backlog of NDCC’s whereas the remaining 95 percent remains outstanding till date. Based on the extant policy exporters have continued to export and repatriate foreign exchange proceeds which has led to a further accumulation of the backlog of EEG.”
According to him, incentives are need to cushion the cost of infrastructure disadvantages faced by Nigerian exporters and to make Nigeria products competitive in the world market
“Most developing countries support their exports with attractive incentives. According to WTO, China which is the world’s largest exporter, gave $ 55 billion as export tax rebates in 2009. India which aims to double its exports from $400 to $900 by 2020 gives a package of incentives to its exporters,” he said