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N50bn export facility boosts women-led businesses

Small and Medium Enterprises and women-led businesses are benefitting from the impact of the N50bn Export Expansion Facility Programme, the EEFP has said.

According to a statement, the EEFP, launched in January 2021 to support export businesses, is being implemented by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.

“Over 1,100 businesses including SMEs and women-led businesses, who are the biggest beneficiaries of the fund have received N6bn grant and another N23bn disbursed as direct COVID-19 relief grants to beneficiaries,” it said.

The statement said a report by StateCraft Inc listed some of the beneficiaries to include the Founder, Jam-the-Coconut Food, Ebunoluwa Feludu, and Deborah Apochi of Shield of Women.

Narrating the process of securing the grant, Feludu said, “When the call for the EEFP grant came out, it was awash over social media and business-centric group chats.

‘So, I just applied as normal. I got an email saying you have prequalified. Got another email saying the grant had been approved. Received another email saying you are going to get credited at such and such a time. Then the next thing I got was an alert.”

She explained that as a result of the EEFP grant, Jam-the-Coconut Food had gone beyond surviving to creating jobs for people, especially women in communities where females are commonly marginalised.

Apochi said the intervention fund supported her business transition process.

 “Before now, our business used to trade agro products — raw food items, but now we have upgraded to processed finished products,” she said.

The Chairman, NACCIMA Agricultural Trade Group, Ade Adefeko, said the injection of funds to the non-oil sector was timely and a step in the right direction.

While commending the government for supporting exporters in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that the move by the government was a veritable way to diversify the economy.

The EEFP Programme Coordinator, Maureen Ideozu, said, “It is heartening to note that beneficiaries who prior to receiving the grants were facing difficulties due to the effects of COVID-19 are now more stable and productive.”

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