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Officials of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) say Port Harcourt is ready to join export drive, as about 42 persons from the South-South geo-political zone have benefited from the zero to export training organised by the NEPC.
Congratulating the participants, the project coordinator, Kola Awe, enjoined them to bring what they learnt to bear in the quest for diversification of Nigeria’s economy by assiduously searching for markets for their products, assuring them of support.
“Port Harcourt has shown itself to be ready for export. Port Harcourt is the flagship of the South-South,” he said. The 42 persons received their certificates of participation on Thursday at a graduation ceremony held at Aldgate Hotel, Sani Abacha Road, Port Harcourt.
Addressing the graduands during the ceremony, Joe Ita, who represented the CEO of NEPC, Segun Awolowo, urged them to apply the knowledge they acquired during the training towards the quest for diversification of Nigeria’s economy by exploring the export business.
The CEO said NEPC would continue to create opportunities for Nigerians to imbibe the culture of exportation through capacity building training programmes as it celebrates the passing out of 42 trainees of Zero to Export Capacity Building Programme.
Awolowo made this known at the Batch 5 Zero to Export Graduation Ceremony in Port Harcourt. He said that the Zero to Export Programme had been part of the Council’s efforts to reposition the non-oil sector, enforcing the narrative of the Council through job creation and inclusive growth – thereby making it a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria.
“There is no doubt that the essence of our gathering today underscores the crucial role that non-oil export sector plays in the present administration’s effort at diversifying the Nigerian economy away from over reliance on oil as its main stay, especially with incessant fluctuations in oil prices.”
Earlier in her opening remark, Pauline Ndulaka, who represented the regional coordinator, South-South, said the zero to export programme of NEPC was meant to create a pool of investors and urged the graduands to effectively utilise the knowledge they acquired.
Emmanuel Nwankwo, who represented the permanent secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Commerce, assured the participants that the ministry would give them adequate cooperative training, which he said would improve their skills, saying the ministry of commerce, which he said was SME-friendly, would soon open an SME Clinic in the state.
Most of the participants expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council for initiating the zero to export capacity building programme and giving them the opportunity to benefit from the training.
Abraham Princewill Chibueze, who served as course representative during the training, described the programme as essential and eye opening, adding that they were taught how to start the export business and use it to better their lives while also contributing to the diversification of Nigeria’s economy.
In an interview with Business Day shortly after the programme, Joe Ita, who is also the Director of Corporate Communications, NEPC, said they decided to hold the programme in Port Harcourt because all the 42 participants were from the South-South.
Itah, who represented the CEO at the event, added: “We’re also planning another model in Port Harcourt which will run for six months. The idea is to grow the export culture and take jobless people out of the streets.”
However, he did not state when the next training programme in Port Harcourt would start.