PDF Bridge Set To Hold Its First On-Line Non-Oil Exporters Dialogue

The PDF Bridge programme is set to hold its first On-line Non-oil Exporters dialogue with a focus on addressing barriers to foreign market access. Themed, ‘Addressing Barriers to Foreign Market Access – An analysis of Spices & Herbs, Textiles & Garments, and Leather Products’, the dialogue is expected to be evidence-based with conversations bordering on key findings and recommendations from the recently concluded Market Access (MA) study. The MA study analysed both tariff and non-tariff barriers to market access with specific focus on Spices and Herbs, Textiles& Garments, and Leather Products.

The event scheduled to hold on Thursday, July 9, 2020 will have participants from all over the globe, especially key stakeholders in the Nigerian export market led by the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo as one of the lead panelists, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, Director General, National Agriculture Quarantine Services, NAQS and Prince Ajibola Oluyede, Chairman, NICERT Limited.

The objectives of the dialogue are to:

1. Facilitate policy discourse on market access challenges and recommendations for improvement using evidence from the MA study
2. Create a platform for non-oil exporters, MDAs of government with regulatory functions for non-oil exports, international certifications bodies to have conversations on how to improve access to markets
3. Equip MSMEs with the necessary knowledge to enhance their ability to gain initial access or increase their access to some selected international markets using Spices & Herbs, Textiles & Garments, and Leather Products as case studies.

According to the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, “I look forward to the upcoming PDF non-oil exporters dialogue. The PDF programme has supported us tremendously in championing the potentials of Nigeria’s non-oil sector. At NEPC, we have read their latest market access report and look forward to working with exporters to address the issues identified.”

Dr Titilola Akindeinde, PDF-Bridge Programme Manager in her remarks noted: “PDF-Bridge has been supporting the Government of Nigeria in reforming the business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive sustainably. This Non-oil export dialogue themed Addressing Barriers to Foreign Market access will contribute to the Government’s Diversification effort and will in addition enable the Network of Practicing Non-Oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN), which was launched earlier this year through the support of our Programme, to help Government set the agenda for expediting implementation of policies that will foster the development of the non-oil sector. We are therefore excited to welcome invited guests to our on-line Exporter Dialogue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-echoed the danger of over-dependence of Nigeria’s export basket on a single product – oil. Although successive administrations have made numerous commitments to growing the non-oil sector, significant result is yet to be recorded due to various constraints militating against these efforts. Access to market despite abundance of tradable non-oil resources in Nigeria constitutes one of the major limitations to achieving the agenda of government.

According to Mr. Olufemi Boyede, a Certified International Trade Professional, “the progressive decline of Nigeria’s economy, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, has made it expedient for the country to consciously and aggressively pursue its long-avowed diversification away from crude oil. Market Access is pivotal to expediting the growth and development of the non-oil export sector. As critical as this segment is, it remains the weakest link in Nigeria’s economic restoration efforts. The Network of Practicing Non-Oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN) which is the new voice of Nigerian exporters has been advocating on the need for Government to create an enabling business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in non-oil exports to thrive. We are excited to participate in PDF-Bridge Dialogue where we will once more voice our concerns on issues adversely affecting our ability to access international markets with a view to making policy recommendations to our Government agencies.

This dialogue is expected to be a key contribution to the on-going debate on the urgent need to diversify Nigerian economy from seemingly unending over-dependence on oil.

According to Dr Alaba, PDF-Bridge Trade Policy Expert “Although diversification has being of recurring urgency in the agenda of successive administration in Nigeria the current situation, we find ourselves call for action rather than talks only. Market access for non-oil exports is the more sustainable way out. It calls for multi-stakeholder action – public and private. The PDF-Bridge is putting dialogue in place to stimulate action to stimulate diversification beyond talks. The dialogue shall be evidence driven and will provide information on the current situation and will provide opportunities for stakeholders to chart the way forward for sustainable non-oil driven economy, he added.
According to Titi Ojo, Lead Exporter Voices, PDF Bridge “Market Access remains a major hurdle that MSMEs in Export must cross. The Programme through its Trade Policy workstream will continue to brings export stakeholders to the table to address the pressing issues and forge ahead with lasting solutions”

The dialogue shall focus on issues around the following as it relates to herbs and spices, leather and leather products, and textiles and garments export:

(i) Documentation requirements, formalities and procedures for export,
(ii) Certification and conformity assessment,
(iii) Trade logistics,
(iv) Trade support institutions,
(v) Access to export focused finance, and
(vi) Market entry processes and rules in the destination countries;

Findings from the engagements will be fed back to the relevant government agencies for use in reviewing and redesigning their processes and procedures and to EBES as input into the Trading Across Borders (TAB) reform efforts. It is expected that the outputs from this event would feed into and raise the quality of further interventions of the Trade Work Stream around market access, export competitiveness, and Nigeria’s trade policy.

About PDF Bridge Programme

The PDF Bridge Programme is a 14-month programme that provides direct technical support to the Federal Government of Nigeria, its agencies and independent regulators in key economic sectors. It enhances technical expertise within the public sector, contributing to inclusive growth and poverty reduction. The programme identifies and works with champions of change, and supports them to conceptualise, design and drive important policy and regulatory reforms that strengthen public planning, budgeting and policies for the improved delivery of public goods and services to citizens. The PDF Bridge Programme is part of the wider DFID-funded ‘Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL)’ programme, a five-year public sector accountability programme which is due to end on April 30, 2021.

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