To curb the incidences of export rejects, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is leading an inter-agency team to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of strategic moves to address the issue once and for all.
There is, no doubt, that export rejection has constituted a major constraint to the growth of the nation’s non-oil export sector.
Among the agencies participating on the fact-finding mission are, the National Food, Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL).
Others include, the Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS) and Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN).
The NEPC Executive Director/CEO, Dr. Ezra Yakusak, who is leading the team, lamented that the rejection cases had resulted in stricter inspection regime on Nigerian exports in importing countries and in some cases, led to the suspension or ban of some products.
He disclosed this to journalists in Abuja, adding, “it also attracts unfavourable international media attention, gives the country a negative image, as well as, constitutes financial burden to the exporters who have to bear the cost of either reshipping the banned product to Nigeria or destroying the product.”
According to him, one of the major objectives of the five–day visit is to provide Nigerian export-regulatory and facilitating agencies opportunity of observing the processes of agricultural commodities import procedures and interface with Port Health and Food Import Regulatory Agencies at the Border Control Points (BCPs) in the UK.
Other areas to be visited by the team are Southampton Port (the second busiest port in the UK), Spitalfield Market – a one-stop aggregation and distribution centre for imported food in the UK as well as the Food Standards Agency (FDA), the parliament among others.
The team is expected to hold an interactive session with some Nigerian food importers in the UK as part of an effort to address the challenges encountered in importing food items from Nigeria to the UK.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Niyi Adebayo recently inaugurated a technical committee to address the incidences of export rejects with view to proffering solutions to the problem.