By Ijendu Iheaka
Peter Njoku, Assistant Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Abuja, has blamed the inability of businesses in the South East to access federal government funds on the people’s suspicions of government programmes.
Njoku stated this, on Friday, in Aba, during the Export Development Fund sensitization seminar for businesses in Aba.
He, therefore, called on businessmen and women in the region and Abia, in particular, to avail themselves of the opportunities and access the Export Development Fund to grow their export businesses.
“We were specific that people in the East hardly believe in government programmes.
“We appeal to them to know that this one is genuine and that if they did not apply, they will not benefit so let them not come back and say they were not told.
“That is why we are doing these sensitization programmes. We have done one in Enugu and we are holding this one in Aba today.
“Anytime from next week, we will roll out the advertisement and after that the fund application will come up online from early next month”, he said.
Njoku said that for people to qualify for the N5 billion fund they must have an incorporated company, registered with a CAC certificate, Tax clearance certificate, and with products or services that are of Nigerian origin.
He said companies, whose products have not met the required international standards, could access the funds and use part of it to standardize and certify their products, making them fit for export markets.
Njoku warned that individuals would not access the funds, unless they formed companies that are incorporated or formed cooperatives and applied as a group.
Chief Lawrence Obeta, President, Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, appreciated the federal government for providing such incentives to exporters.
He urged South East businesses to apply and access the fund, and use it to develop their businesses and expand their reach.
Mr Chinenye Nwogu, Special Adviser to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu on Social Investment Programme, said the fund’s revival was a welcome development that would aid the expansion of businesses of Abia entrepreneurs.
“With this programme by the NEPC, for those who are interested in export trade, this is a very huge boost to all the governor has been trying to do.
“As a state government, we will hand hold them to ensure all eligible Abia exporters apply, qualify and receive this grant.
“And we will be able to support them in any area by interfacing between them and the federal government, to ensure they are not shortchanged in any way”, he said.
Nwogu promised that the state would also support them by providing registration centres for the applicants, to ensure they met the deadline.(NAN)