The Organised Private Sector Exporters Association (OPEXA) has commended the Federal Government for making provision in its annual budget for Export Expansion Grant (EEG), but decried the non-execution of two years allocations amounting to N29.28 billion.
OPEXA said diversification of the economy was a policy imperative and that the government should be commended for reviving the moribund EEG scheme.
In 2017, the scheme was revamped to improve its effectiveness and ensure sustainability.
The older version of the scheme was marred due to reluctance of customs to forego the revenue and the government was forced to recall the huge backlog of unutilised Negotiable Duty Credit Certificates (NDCC) from exporters.
The certificates were issued to exporters in lieu of cash payment and could be used for payment of import duties. The export grant is meant to cushion the impact of infrastructural cost disadvantages faced by Nigerian exporters.
The Executive Secretary of OPEXA, Mr. Jaiyeola Paul Olarewaju, made this known in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
Mr. Olarewaju said making provision for EEG in the country’s annual budget “creates transparency and boosts the confidence of non-oil investors in expanding processing capacity and employment generation.”
Olarewaju said an inter-ministerial monitoring committee meeting was organised at the instance of the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, where the association expressed “deep” concern over non-implementation of the EEG budget since 2017.
He explained that the EEG budget allocation for 2017 was N16bn, which was not implemented and that it elapsed probably due to non-utilisation.
“In 2018, the budgetary allocation of N13.28bn was yet to be implemented and we understand that less than N2bn has been approved for disbursement by March, 2019.
“Also, the 2019 budgetary allocation for EEG was surprisingly reduced to N5.12bn, which appears arbitrary and inconsistent with government policy to grow non-oil exports,” he said in the statement.
The association also suggested the retrieval of unutilised 2017 budgetary allocation of N16bn and mitigate the shortfall in the 2019 EEG budget through a supplementary provision.
“Annual budget allocation should be in the range of N60bn but not less than the provision for 2017, in any case since exports are growing and we want the government to make a clear statement on future policy for EEG,” Olarewaju said.