Uyo, Nov. 8, 2023: The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says the agency has put modalities on ground to push up the nation’s yearly earnings in non-oil exports to US$35 billion dollars in the next five years.
The Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Charles Odii disclosed this in his remarks during a three-day capacity-building workshop on packaging and branding of products for Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Uyo on Tuesday.
Odii was represented by the Acting Director, Partnership and Coordination Department of SMEDAN, Prof. Adeyinka Fisher.
The director general said that in the first six months of 2022, Nigeria recked in a total revenue of 2.5 billion dollars in non-oil exports.
Odii said: “The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) once ranked Nigeria as the 49th largest export economy in the world, having exported goods worth US$47.8 billion dollars and imported goods worth US$39.5 billion dollars.
“Nigeria’s non-oil export is projected to hit 25 billion dollars by 2025, from US$2.7 billion in 2022, according to Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
“May, I express the determination of SMEDAN to push Nigeria’s export target to US$35 billion per annum over the next five years.”
Odii further said that the agency would increase the number of SMEs that meet AfCFTA standards and those of other international markets to enhance cluster development and improve common processing facilities and value addition.
“We will increase access to global business information, enhance regional integration, and ensure increased turnover for SMEs,” Odii said.
According to him, SMEDAN has also mapped out several plans to achieve its goal, including sustained and vigorous training of entrepreneurs on packaging and branding of products to promote value addition.
He added that one of the challenges confronting Nigerian exporters was rejection and under-pricing of their products in the international market due to poor packaging and branding, and inadequate information on the rudiments to function in the global market.
He encouraged exporters to be seriously involved in product development to enable them to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to earn foreign currency and help generate revenue for the nation.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr John Etim, who declared the event open, said that the state government would continuously partner with SMEDAN on product development for export.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr Emem Bob declared the ministry’s readiness to support SMEDAN.
Bob urged the participants to take the training seriously to enable them to sell their products on the international market.
The theme of the workshop is: “Empowering Small and Medium Enterprises for Global Competitiveness through Packaging and Branding.”