July 14, 2022

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, on the promotion of made in Nigeria products within the West African region.

At the signing of the MOU at the NEPC Headquarters in Abuja, the Executive Director of the Council, Dr. Ezra Yakusak said the collaboration was aimed at enhancing the visibility of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services within West Africa and other international markets.

Dr. Yakusak stated that the MOU is to among other things facilitate the first West African MSME, WAMSME, Export Opportunities Exhibition.

He explained that the NEPC had in recent times made genuine effort towards collaborating with relevant Agencies, International Development Partners, the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and other relevant stakeholders in forming strategic alliance towards ensuring the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

” This is because the Council recognizes the important roles of these organizations. Besides, no organization can operate as an island in today’s world if its set goals and objectives must be realized’ the Executive Director stressed.

According to him, in 2018 and 2021, the Council in collaboration with NEXIM, BOI and other relevant Agencies coordinated Nigeria’s participation at the Intra-African Trade Fairs (IATF) in Cairo, Egypt and Durban, South Africa.

“The time has come for us to encourage the development of local industries, promote patronage for locally made products and also create international market access for them and it is also pertinent to note here that Nigeria is a huge market and a trade hub that cannot be ignored by international business community and investors. Therefore, Nigeria MSMEs should also take advantage of every available step to package their products in line with international standard and take advantage of every global platform to showcase such products to boost its acceptability worldwide” Dr Yakusak emphasized

He therefore expressed the hope that the initiative woud help in flooding the West African and African market at large with quality Made-in-Nigeria products and in turn increase forex inflow into the Nigerian economy.

“This has become necessary in view of the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. We cannot fold our arms and wait until our market is taken over by foreign products before penetrating their markets with our products. We must leverage on our comparative advantage of Made-in-Nigeria products in the African market, especially the West African Region” He stated

The NEPC Executive Director used the occasion to officially congratulate Mr. Wale Fasanya on his appointment as the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria adding that he looked forward to working closely with the Agency beyond the signing of this MoU,

On his part, the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Wale Fasanya described the MOU as a welcomed development.

Mr Fasanya who said he looked forward to a very rewarding partnership with the NEPC reiterated that Nigeria has the potential to dominate the West African and the African market at large if the country is able to set its priorities and goals right.

He stated that SMEDAN had also put in place various programmes to empower and boost the productivity of SMEs in the country.

According to him, SMEDAN is also collaborating with other relevant Government Agencies and stakeholders towards the development of the nation’s SME sector.