By NBF News

By Daniel Gumm
THE Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said that not less than N45 billion has been approved by the Federal Government in the second quarter of 2011 under the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) to be paid out to beneficiary companies, even as it explained that the scheme was designed to induce performance of non-oil exporters in the country.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. David Adulugba, also noted that during the year under review, the EEG implementation committee met three times and approved claims to beneficiary companies in the country as follows: March 10, 2011 - N13,788,377,674.37 was approved; March 30, 2011 - N13,128,994,731.36 was approved; and May 11, 2011 - N17,880,708,943.21 was approved.

Speaking during the NEPC 2011 media briefing with the Organised Private Sector (OPS), in Lagos, Adulugba said the Negotiable Duty Certificates (NDCCs), which is the means by which exporters are rewarded under the EEG scheme, had been disbursed to beneficiary companies, except a few that are yet to come forward.

He said the attraction of EEG was a motivating factor that boosts export trade in the country, emphasising that available evidence from inspection of facilities of EEG beneficiary companies showed that many of them utilised their claims to procure more machinery to expand their production base for more export business, thereby generating more employment.

According to him, 'Exporters now have more confidence in the system as transparency has remained the watchword, then the time-lag for processing of claims has narrowed down except in recent times when institutional interruptions has crept into the scheme's operations.'

He added that the scheme was aimed at assisting exporters to expand their volume and value of non-oil exports, diversify export markets and to make them more competitive in the global market.

He, however, explained that to be eligible, an exporter must have exported manufactured, semi-manufactured, semi-processed or primary products, pointing out that the export proceeds must be repatriated into a domiciliary account in Nigeria and confirmed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Adulugba said that following complaints received by the EEG Implementation Committee from exporters and members of the OPS on the current EEG Product Categorisation, the council organised an interactive forum with a view to reviewing the current EEG product categorisation, to properly situate export products in the scheme.

He said during the year under review, the EEG Directorate called for the submission of 2009 baseline data for 2010 EEG ratings maintain that about 163 companies have submitted their baseline data, while 150 had already been rated for 2010 claims; noting that the remaining 13 companies are yet to be rated as a result of the inconsistencies in their submissions.

He stated that the challenges faced by the scheme include inconsistent government policies, frustration from some stakeholders and inadequate funding of the EEEG secretariat.

'As part of the Directorate effort towards ensuring prompt and transparent service delivery, the EEG processing software will be regularly updated to accommodate all eligible exporters especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the objective to continually boost non-oil from Nigeria,' he said.

He said the EEG Directorate represented the council on the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the Minister of Trade and Investment to review the current EEG Scheme.