By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Deputy Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Uyo Export Assistance Office, Mrs. Pauline Ndulaka has advised exporters to diversify their export base by exporting more of value added products so as to penetrate the free trade areas across Africa.
Mrs. Ndulaka who gave the advice during a workshop in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday, also urged those operating on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the numerous benefits accrued to free trade agreement the country signed with the West African sub region and the African continent at large
She said the country’s business treaties which are ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS) and African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) has opened up exporters’ doors to the World’s largest market recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to Ndulaka, ETLS is “aimed at expanding the volume of intra-communiy trade in the sub region through the removal of both tariff and non tariff barriers to trade on products originating from ECOWAS countries.”
She also explained that AfCFTA is “aimed at removing tariffs on intra-African trade which is an agreement for a single market by accelerating and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market with the strength of a common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.”
Ndulaka said that there was need for exporters to acquire the necessary right skills to be able to penetrate global trade professionally.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo had commended the MSMEs participants for turning up in numbers for the sensitization.
Awolowo, represented by the Deputy Director, Policy and Strategy, Mr Akintunde Folorunso, however, urged all exporters to explore the largest market in the world with over two billion people which the country has opened up.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Prince Ukpong Akpabio lauded the efforts of NEPC towards its unrelented drive at non oil export economy.
Akpabio, represented by the Director of Trade and Investment, Mr Aniefiok Idiong, stressed that as the state was blessed with numerous natural resources, the government would continue to support the organization towards supplanting the existing oil economy.
He noted that the current administration in the state was at the same pedestal with the federal government towards equipping MSMEs for production and exportation.
Our Correspondent observed that the workshop was to sensitize the participants on Export Competency Development to Enhance MSMEs Success in ECOWAS and AFCFTA, was organised by NEPC’s Policy and Strategy Department, Abuja.
The one-day seminar featured two paper presentations, which were, Criteria For MSMEs Success In The Export Market by Mr Akintunde Folorunso and Trading Under ECOWAS And AFCFTA by Mr Olusegun Olutayo, Lead Trade Enablement, National Action Committee on AFCFTA.