Recipients praise Fed government for impact of Export Development Fund
The N50 billion Export Development Facility (EEFP), implemented by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has had a positive impact on businesses and the economy.
The program, launched by the NIPC in January 2021, has successfully provided direct subsidies to non-oil exporters under the federal government’s Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
The NESP was designed to protect exporting companies from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect jobs and reduce risks to the economy from future shocks by focusing on economic growth through exports.
The EEFP activated the Export Development Fund, a pre-shipment incentive stipulated in the NEPC law, through an innovative grant management portal, disbursing around 6 billion naira to 1,100 companies and 23 billion naira in grants direct Covid relief to qualified beneficiaries – medium and large companies and women detained companies.
To assess the impact of the fund on SMEs, StateCraft Inc. engaged with certain beneficiaries, including Ebunoluwa Feludu of Jam-the-coconut food, Deborah Apochi of Shield of Women, two food processing companies.
In addition, an in-depth interview with Ade Adefeko, Chairman of NACCIMA Agricultural Trade Group and Vice Chairman of Business and Government Relations, Olam International Nigeria, a well-known conglomerate and VET beneficiary, revealed that the injection of funds in the non-oil sector is timely and a step in the right direction.
He said: “We commend the government for thinking about exporters after the impact of COVID-19, especially since non-oil exports are a real way to diversify the Nigerian economy. The funds have helped us (Olam Nigeria) with our supply chain and capacity building. “
Recounting the process of obtaining the grant, Ebunoluwa said, “When the call for the VET grant went out, it was inundated with social media and business-focused group discussions. So, I just applied as usual. [Then] I received an email saying you are prequalified. I received another email saying the grant had been approved. Received another email saying you will be credited at such and such a time. Then the next thing I got was an alert. Thanks to the EEFP grant, the coconut jam food has gone beyond survival and creates jobs for people, especially women in communities where women are typically marginalized. She further explained: “80% of our employees here are women. We decided to be that way specifically because in coastal communities like these women are kind of left behind ”.
Following receiving the grant, Deborah Apochi said the money was essential in her business transition process. According to her, “Our company used to market raw food products, but now we have turned to finished processed products.” She added: “When the grant was received, we were able to buy our washing machine, our mini machine, our dehydrator, our slicer; and all of these machines are made of 304 stainless steel to meet international best practice and ensure customer satisfaction.
According to VET program coordinator, Maureen Ideozu: It is heartwarming to note that beneficiaries who, before receiving the grants, faced difficulties due to the effects of COVID 19 are now more stable and productive, having used the funds to develop and diversify their activities. thus saving and creating jobs while being more competitive in the global export market. The master plan of the EEFP has been the NEPC Zero Oil Plan and the ability to reach out to the whole non-oil ecosystem has been very enriching ”.