Exporters on Monday decried the N9.28bn drop in the Export Expansion Grant released by implementing agencies of the Federal Government.
Speaking under the aegis of the Organised Private Sector Exporters Association, they explained that the grant was reintroduced by the Federal Government in 2017 to ensure exporters’ competitiveness in the international market.
The Executive Secretary, OPEXA, Jaiyeola Olarewaju, said the 2017 budgetary allocation of N16bn was not implemented, adding that out of the 2018 allocation of N13.28bn, only N4bn was paid in June 2019, leaving a balance of N9.28bn.
“Also, to the utter surprise of the sector, the budget for 2019 was reduced to N5.12bn. This is totally arbitrary, for in spite of exports growing through the years, the EEG provision is being reduced,” he stated.
The association demanded between N60bn and N70bn as the 2020 budgetary provision for the EEG due to the consistent shortfall in payments since its reintroduction in 2017.
Olarewaju said, “We reiterate our concern at the meagre budgetary allocations and lack of proper implementation by the implementing agencies such as Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
Olarewaju noted that Nigerian exporters were suffering from cost disadvantages due to infrastructural constraints, which had resulted in high cost of doing business.
He said, “Therefore, incentives are required to cushion such disadvantages and make our exports more competitive. Since the reintroduction, exporters embraced the new policy in good faith by investing in export processing factories and made commitments to foreign buyers, which improved statistics of non-oil export.”