Exporters in Imo have appealed to the Federal Government to open the Onne export corridor in Rivers, as a way of boosting free trade in Africa.
The exporters made the appeal at the end of year performance appraisal and interactive session, for exporters, organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Owerri on Friday.
Speaking, Coordinator of the Imo Exporters Summit, His Royal Highness Eze Emma Ekeh, who described Nigeria as the giant of Africa, said free trade should begin in Nigeria.
Ekeh, who is the traditional ruler of Ishi Ubomiri, in Mbaitoli council area of Imo, thanked the NEPC, for providing the enabling environment for exporting activities in the country.
He urged exporters to eschew sabotage and rather promote local content, as a way of lifting Nigeria among comity of nations.
He however decried the loss of revenue, which should have accrued to States of the South-South and South-East geo-political zones, describing the loss as economic sabotage.
” It is economic sabotage that rather than exporting from Onne corridor, which is close to the South-East, we are made to move our products to Lagos, a far distance where we pay duties that should have been paid here “, he said.
Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, Davmic Wood Viet Limited, Mr Paschal Dikeocha, a wood exporter, called on governors of the South-South and South-East geo-political zones, to intervene so as to free up exportation from the zones.
According to him, there would be a reduction in loss of export products to bad roads, with a shorter proximity to the port.
” The Onne corridor is closer, yet we are not allowed to move products from there. We urge political leaders and other stakeholders to intervene, with a view to resolving these challenges”, he said.
Also, another exporter, Mrs Prisca Onwumere, harped on the need for relevant agencies of government to facilitate quality control and consistent product availability.
She urged attitudinal change, towards manufacturing of export products, and called on the media to constantly promote awareness for made in Nigeria goods.
” The global market does not compromise quality, and for us to survive there, we must collaborate with the NEPC and other relevant government agencies for quality control and consistent product availability “, she said.
Earlier in an address, NEPC’s Trade Promotion Advisor in Imo, Mr Anthony Ajuruchi, urged exporters to eschew complacency and take advantage of grants and other incentives for exporters in the country.
He thanked the exporters for believing in government, and pledged improved service delivery in year 2022.