Nigeria: NEPC boss slams NIMASA for withholding N300m freight levies

*Olusegun Awolowo.

*Olusegun Awolowo.

08 October 2016, Lagos — The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo has flayed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its inability to release the 10 per cent levies on freights collection to NEPC as stipulated by law.

The NEPC helmsman maintained that the delay constituted a major handicap to providing export incentives to proposed beneficiaries.

The accusation against the nation’s apex regulatory authority is coming on the heels of disclosure that Nigeria’s oil export earnings had dropped by 40 per cent largely due to the country’s inability to improve on the quality and standard of its primary export products.

Awolowo said most of the country’s export products were currently in non-processed level, making it difficult to generate the much-needed foreign exchange as the country looks to diversify its revenue base from oil.

Speaking at the just concluded 22nd seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors (FICAN) in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, he said the inability of NIMASA to release 10 per cent levies on freights collections to NEPC as stipulated by law, was one of its major handicaps to providing export incentives to proposed beneficiaries.

According to him, a total of about N300 million is currently being owed the council by NIMASA.

The high level of non-processed export items constituted an impediment to improvement in earnings and volume of its non-oil exports.

Awolowo who was represented at the seminar by a Director in NEPC, Mr. George Enyiekpon, stated that the country’s non-oil export products have remained at non-processed levels and this has had limitations on the standards, quality, and accruals from the sector.

In his paper titled: “Towards Efficient Institutional Arrangements for Non-oil Export Finance in Nigeria”, Awolowo said the non-oil sector holds enormous foreign exchange potentials for the country but had not been fully exploited despite being endowed with solid minerals and agriculture.

He blamed the decline in non-oil export earnings on limited local content value addition, products mostly exported in the primary forms and challenges associated with poor infrastructure, power, standards, finance, skills and capacity.

He said with the fall in crude oil price by about 50 percent, the NEPC believed now is the time for Nigeria to intensify efforts at diversifying the economy and maximize the potentials inherent in non-oil sector export.

Awolowo said since inception in 1976, the council with the core mandate to develop, promote, assist and play a leading role in the creation of export incentives, has lived up that expectation by positioning the Nigerian export market as the growth opportunity of choice for private sector earnings and sustainable economic development.

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