The federal government on Monday launched the Export Expansion Facility Programme, an online grant portal, and flagged off the Export Development Fund.
The EEFP aims to protect export businesses from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguard jobs and de-risk the economy from shocks like COVID in the non-oil sector.
According to the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who was at the event, the goal of the expanded facility is to increase Nigeria’s export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term.
“It will also provide economic incentives to ease the economic effect of the COVID-19 on players in the export sector, fast track the zero oil plan to create jobs, and further expand other avenues to earn foreign exchange in Nigeria other than crude oil. Essentially, the EEEP will save jobs & create jobs,” he said.
He said the EEFP triggered the launch of the Export Development Fund which will mostly support Medium, Small& Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) who operate as players in the export sector.
“The EEFP grant management portal will be for exporters to register for grants under the facility. It will allow for efficiency, transparency, information and real-time reporting among others.”
The Minister of State Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, who was also at the event explained that the N50 billion Export Development Fund is the first component of the Export Expansion Facility that is being implemented.
She said the fund focuses on pre-shipment incentives or assistance with the MSMEs as the target group and possible beneficiaries.
“The import of this cannot be overemphasized in view of the significance of MSMEs and the critical role they play in the Nigerian economy.
“To say that MSMEs have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic is an understatement. Players in the sector have incurred huge losses in revenue and investments, triggering immense job losses for a substantial number of them,” she said.