The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo has inaugurated a Steering Committee to implement its N50 billion export expansion facility under the Federal Government's N2.3 Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan.
While inaugurating the 11-man Committee in Abuja on Thursday, Adebayo stated that the mandate of the Steering Committee was the implementation of the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) under the National Economic Sustainability Plan.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by Joe Itah, ...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.
...Its primary goal is to increase Nigeria's export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term."
He noted that: ...Federal government will spend an estimated N2.3 trillion to fund the National Economic Sustainability Plan, but the N50Billion Export Expansion Facility programme will focus on driving economic growth through exports.
Adebayo noted that the facility is targeted at providing support to exporters particularly Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs).
...Export growth is at the centre of our strategy for diversifying Nigeria's sources of foreign exchange and reducing the vulnerability of the economy to external shocks. We have witnessed time and again, the devastating impact that events outside our control can have on our livelihoods due to our reliance on a primary source of foreign exchange."
The statement revealed that ...the Steering Committee is an integral part of the programme and a key driver of its success. Its responsibilities are to:
...Ensure the programme is implemented in line with the Federal Government's objectives and for the benefit of its intended beneficiaries.
...Approve the Program Implementation Plan and Budget and ensure the programme is implemented on time, on budget and in accordance with agreed priorities.
...Approve the implementation strategy of the EEF's projects and the target beneficiaries for each project, where applicable
...Approve disbursements to beneficiaries, vendors and implementation partners and Review the periodic performance reports and resolve implementation challenges."
In his remarks, the Governor of Jigawa, the Chairman of NEC Committee on Export Promotion, acknowledged the efforts of the president and the vice president in driving the diversification of the country's economy away from oil.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the Steering Committee to drive the initiative to the desired outcome of making non-oil export a major contributor to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product.
Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, former MD of Fidelity Bank Plc and Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee, expressed his enthusiasm and confidence in the Federal Government's ability to achieve economic growth through support for SMEs and MSMEs.
Other programme steering committee members present at the virtual inauguration session are Mansur Ahmed (President, MAN); Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu (President, NACCIMA); Mrs. Saratu Umar; Mr. Suleiman Audu (Director, FMITI); Mr. Kamar Barkin; and Dr Ahmed Bashar.