NEPC blames customs for inaccurate export statistics

Olusegun Awolowo
Chief Executive Officer NEPC

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has blamed the inaccurate export statistics in Nigeria on extortion by government officials saddled with the responsibilities of exports management .

Chief Executive of the NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo said while other countries where Nigeria export items to, have better statistics, Nigeria where the goods originate from does not have such records because according to him, customs officers and other agencies sometimes extort money from exporters and allow them to go without taking appropriate data.

Awolowo who stated this  at a recent forum in Lagos put together by Nigerian Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ). said, “For now, the export value we have is from 5 billion. Well, the issue is very controversial. For those of you who are in research, by the time you go to ITC documents, the export figure could be telling you almost 100, why? It’s very simple.The moment you take some goods out of this country, and you declare them only in other countries as import. you know, a lot of us do a lot of portfolio export.

“By portfolio export, I mean taking little quantities away. They will record it in those countries as your export, they are not charging you, because they are Agricultural  needs.

“When they have such records, they will have it that Nigeria has exported one product or the other.

“Back home, we don’t have such record, because we must have given custom or whoever there some money so that they will not record such movement of goods. We are all guilty of that we know.

Awolowo who was represented by Babatunde Olusegun Faleke however called on state governments to concentrate on agricultural products on which they have comparative advantage so as to complement one another in food supply to the nation and to boost non oil export in Nigeria.

Imploring the states to strive as much as putting enormous resources into such products, and drive them crazily to scale up their  production.

He unequivocally insisted  that there is no product Nigeria as a nation does not have what it takes to produce.

He maintained that the country’s target growth on export value is to move up to 18 billion by 2018 and 30 billion by 2025.

“Where we are today is 5 billion. by 2018, we can move up to 18 billion

By 2025, we look up to 30 billion, because of the price of oil, we are low.we are short by 30billon,” he said.

Also speaking at the event on the topic: Land Tenure Challenge and Its Effect on the Development of Agriculture in Africa, Ayodele Kusamotu, a renowned Lawyer hihhlighted the problems with land acquisition in Africa.

He said access to credit on agricultural land saying the scheme has not improved since many banks are still unlikely to accept land as collateral for loans.

He added that in some parts, land transaction fees are too high compared to international standards as well as difficulties in registering properties, among others.

He however recommended the institutional framework administering tenure requires focus.

“Professionals in land administration related discipline like land economy, land law, land surveying, land use/spatial planning, agricultural, natural resources and development are to be recruitted to get these work done.

“Acquisitoon of information is jey ans this ia nor expected to be a one-time effort. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of reform programmes are needed to keep the developmental efforts in check and under control as well as making same responsive to the latest needs of the agricultural and land holding community,” he said.

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