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$1bn Afrexim Loan Will Boost SMEs Export Capacity ― Awolowo

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The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo has reaffirmed that the $1 billion loan facility export promotion programme granted to the country by the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) will greatly enhance the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to export, especially in the non oil sector.

Speaking in an interview with TribuneOnline in Cairo, Awolowo said the major challenge of SMEs in the country was funding, which he said had limited performance of these companies from production, to qualify and packaging.

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‎He said the loan facility from the AFREXIM bank is major because it will make resources available for small businesses “now the government will be able to loan money at subsidies rate and then, there’s money to even loan.”

Awolowo urged business proprietors to structure their businesses in a way that will make them profitable, ‎”what AFREXIM is doing in promoting Intra-African trade you all know is the lowest continental trade in the world, we don’t trade with ourselves, Africans don’t just trade with each other and in order to promote that, there is a grant there for countries.”

He said the loan facility is mainly for the promotion of export among African countries, “so we will use it to improve the capacity of businesses to export by scaling up production, improving quality and having better packaging, that is what the money is going to be used for.”

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‎”So companies that are looking good to scale up, you pushed them towards that, they can borrow money at a very low rate and then, the money is available and so they can scale up ‎their companies,” Awolowo noted.

It will be recalled that on the 13th of December, ‎‎African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Cairo, Egypt signed an agreement with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), launching a $1-billion Nigeria-‎African Trade and Investment Promotion Programme (NATIPP) aimed at promoting and expanding trade and investments between Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

The signing which took place during the Nigeria Day at the ongoing inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), was witnessed by the Nigerian Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who led the Nigerian delegation to the trade fair.‎

Under the terms of the programme, Afreximbank will work with NEPC and NEXIM to identify, prepare and appraise trade transactions and projects; explore co-financing and risk-sharing opportunities; and share knowledge, with particular emphasis on intra-African trade matters, through technical cooperation, staff exchange, research and joint events.‎

Source: Nigerian Tribune

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