The Imo Government has pledged to increase its support for women entrepreneurs in the state through access to loans.The state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Vulnerable Groups, Mrs Nkechinyere Ugwu, made the pledge at a sensitisation workshop for businesswomen and their support providers.The workshop was organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), in Owerri on Wednesday.
Ugwu, who commended the women for their resilience in spite of numerous economic challenges, promised to help them access loans for their businesses. She thanked Gov. Hope Uzodimma for providing the enabling environment for women-owned businesses to thrive in the state and pledged continued support for women-friendly initiatives. “Despite the numerous challenges facing businesses in the country and beyond, you, our businesswomen, have remained resilient and we are proud of you. “The state government will continue to support you financially and otherwise so as to improve our economy, improve livelihoods and maintain our place in the comity of states,” she said. In his remarks, NEPC’s Executive Director, Mr Ezra Yakusak, said that 25 Business Support Organisations (BSOs) had already been listed in the NEPC’s directory.Yakusak, represented by NEPC’s Trade Promotion Advisor in Imo, Mr Anthony Ajuruchi, called on women exporters to avail themselves of the financial and other forms of support. “Today, we are providing detailed information on various services offered by BSOs and the process of accessing the services and we’re doing on-the-spot registration with BSOs for those who cannot register on their own. “Many women are not benefitting from the BSOs for lack of information and sensitisation, hence this workshop,” he said.Ajuruchi, in his address, said that the programme, a brainchild of the Women in Export division of NEPC’s Export Development and Incentives Department, was designed to move the business landscape in Imo to the next level.He mentioned some of the BSOs to include women associations, cooperatives, government and Non Governmental Organisations.“One of the aims of the BSO directory project is to close the gap between women entrepreneurs and BSOs who can help them to grow their businesses.“Knowledge is power and we shall continue to seek it for entrepreneurs in Imo to build their capacity”, he said.Also, Vice President of the Imo Exporters League, Mrs Amaka Onwumere, urged women exporters to identify with the League so as to have increased access to vital information and available incentives.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was attended by businesswomen, entrepreneurs and exporters from various parts of the state.VIN
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has urged exporters in Imo to take advantage of its export incentive schemes to grow their businesses.
NEPC Executive Director, Dr Ezra Yakusak, gave the advice in an address at a sensitisation forum on export incentives organised by the council on Wednesday in Owerri.
Yakusak said that the event was organised in partial fulfillment of the council’s role of ameliorating the financial burden of exporters.
He listed NEPC’s available incentive schemes to include the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), the Tax Relief on Interest Income (TRII) and the Export Development Fund (EDF).
He said that the TRII was recently activated for exporters of manufactured goods and the EDF to provide financial assistance to exporting companies to cover part of their initial expenses with respect to export promotion activities.
He added that while the EEG and TRII were post-shipment incentives, the EDF was a pre-shipment incentive which primarily offered support for MSMEs so as to increase their competitiveness and enhance their capacity.
“The dearth of information among potential beneficiaries of the incentive schemes, evidenced by a number of enquiries about export incentives and some misconceptions, necessitated this sensitisation forum.
“I enjoin you to make the best use of this opportunity by participating fully in this forum so as to enhance your chances of benefitting from the various incentive schemes available to operators in the non-oil export sector “, he said.
Speaking, NEPC’s Trade Promotion Advisor in Imo, Mr Anthony Ajuruchi, listed other incentives to include tax holidays, subsidies, reduced duties paid on goods and duty waiver granted on some goods.
He thanked the NEPC management for organising the forum and urged participants to keep faith with the council.
“This sensitisation will definitely benefit our micro, small and medium enterprises because knowledge is power.
“Exporters in Imo need this knowledge sharing in order to take full advantage of the incentives just like their counterparts all over the nation who have been enjoying them”, he said.
Coordinator of the Imo Exporters Summit, Eze Emma Ekeh, thanked the NEPC for organising the programme and noted that exporters in Imo were ever ready to access available incentives. (