The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is leading an interagency team to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of strategic steps to address the issue once and for all and reduce the instances of export rejects.
Without a doubt, export rejection has been a significant barrier to the expansion of the country’s non-oil export economy.
The National Food, Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), and Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited are some of the organizations taking part in the fact-finding mission (SAHCOL).
Others include the Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) and the Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS) (FACAN).
Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC and the team’s leader, bemoaned the rejection cases’ impact on the harsher inspection regime for Nigerian exports in importing nations, which in some cases resulted in the suspension or ban of certain products.
In Abuja, he made this information public and added, “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.”
One of the main goals of the five-day trip, in his opinion, is to give Nigerian export-regulating and facilitating organizations the chance to observe the procedures for importing agricultural commodities and interact with the Port Health and Food Import Regulatory Agencies at the Border Control Points (BCPs) in the UK.
The team will also stop by Spitalfield Market, the UK’s one-stop aggregation and distribution hub for imported food, the Food Standards Agency (FDA), the parliament, and Southampton Port, the country’s second busiest port.