The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has declared its readiness to push up the nation’s yearly earnings in non-oil exports to N35 billion in the next five years.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr. Charles Odii, made this known during a three-day capacity-building program on packaging and branding of products for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Odii noted that Nigeria’s non-oil exports are projected to hit N25 billion by 2025, but SMEDAN is determined to push this target to N35 billion per annum over the next five years.
To achieve this goal, SMEDAN has mapped out several plans, including sustained and vigorous training of entrepreneurs on packaging and branding of products to promote value addition.
The agency also plans to increase the number of SMEs that meet AfCFTA standards and those of other international markets, enhance cluster development and improved common processing facilities and value addition, increase access to global business information, enhance regional integration, and ensure increased turnover for SMEs.
Odii acknowledged that one of the challenges confronting Nigerian exporters is 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 urged exporters to be seriously involved in product development to enable them to take advantage of AfCFTA to earn foreign currency and help generate revenue for the nation.
The State Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. John Etim, and the State Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr. Emem Bob, both pledged the support of their respective ministries to SMEDAN in achieving its goal of increasing non-oil exports.
The workshop, which was themed “Empowering Small and Medium Enterprises for Global Competitiveness through Packaging and Branding,” was organized by SMEDAN in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government.