The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, has empowered 3,610 women on export of non-oil commodities.
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak made this known in Abuja during a one day Symposium and Exhibition organized by the Council to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
The event has as it’s theme, “Breaking Barriers: Enhancing Inclusiveness and Creating Opportunities for Women in Non-Oil Export”.
Yakusak said NEPC’s quest to increase the participation of women in Non-Oil export led to the launch of the Woman in Export Development Programme in 2017
Through this Programme, he said the NEPC created a Women in Export Unit and assigned Women Desk Officers to provide support services for the 3,610 female exporters.
The female exporters, according to him, are currently registered with the NEPC.
He said the NEPC in the last two years has fully sponsored 154 SMEs to acquire international Voluntary Certifications such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, HACCP, Food and Drug Administration, FAD under the “Go Global Go Certification” project which was launched in 2021.
“It will interest you to know that 125 of those SMEs are Women Owned Businesses which is about 81 per cent of the beneficiaries of this project while the NEPC recently initiated an Exporters’ Mentorship Programme which pairs prospective exporters with experienced performing exporters that can guide and handhold them on how to successfully navigate the export terrain,” Yakusak explained
The NEPC Executive Director pointed out that the Council has partnered various private and public sector organizations over the years to provide better trade opportunities for women saying that one of such successful partnership is with the International Trade Centre, on the implementation of the SheTrade Initiative in Nigeria.
“From January 2020 to March 2021, the Council partnered with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, ITC and other stakeholders on a policy dialogue to create a gender responsive publc procurement policy for women led businesses in Nigeria and at the end of the deliberations, a gender based procurement policy document was drafted to have women account for 30 percent of Government purchasing spend by 2026 from which a Bill is being drafted to this effect,” he added
In a remark, the President of Women Entrepreneurs Network, Mrs Deborah Adeju commended NEPC for its entrepreneurship venture, incentives, export training and trading towards promoting the export of non-oil products among Nigerian business women.
In a message, the Chairperson of NACCIMA Women Business Group, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar also lauded NEPC’s efforts towards enhancing inclusiveness and creating opportunities for women in the business of non-oil export.
She advised women to always explore their potentials to enable them contribute to national economic development.