By Prudence Arobani
A Nigerian entrepreneur, Mr Stephen Opayemi, has urged the Federal Government to encourage more Nigerians to export food and non-oil products, saying Nigerian products are highly competitive.
Opayemi told the correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that Nigerian food products compete favourably with their foreign counterparts in terms of quality.
The Nigerian entrepreneur, who is the Chief Executive Officer for Kalto International in the U.S., said his company had introduced a lot of Nigerian products from Nigeria into the U.S. markets.
He said the group imports over 35 Nigerian brands into the U.S. including Star, Gulder, Ovaltine, Peak Milk, Maggi, Milo, Semovita and Honeywell Wheat.
Opayemi said: “there are a lot of opportunities that I believe that Nigerian Government can really leverage within this food export business.
“One of such is for the government to encourage exporters of food items and other non-oil products out of Nigeria.
“Nigeria has some of the best natural products that anybody can think of and at the same time, a lot of our packaged goods are made of very good quality.
“There’s a lot of health consciousness globally, especially in the United States, and we see a lot of Nigerian products, because they are made out of natural raw materials.
“Therefore, they will be able to do very well in this very market,” adding there are many things that the Nigerian Government can do to support and promote the Nigerian brand in the international market.
“What we look forward to is for the Government to actually support value-addition of Nigerian raw materials in the production of intermediate or finished goods that will be ready for exportation out of Nigeria.
“There’s a lot of, in terms of packaging regulation, in terms of quality regulation, in terms of creating conducive atmosphere.
“The government should provide a very conducive environment for exporters in terms of helping to manage the interface between these exporters and the regulatory authorities in the countries where these products are going to be sold.
“If this is done, a lot of jobs are going to be provided for Nigerians locally,” he said.
“And at the same time, many people that are interested in doing very good business, honest business, will find an opportunity to be able to invest in production and exportation of products out of Nigeria.”
Opayemi also appealed to the government to provide other incentives for exporters.
According to him, government should “support local manufacturers to enhance value-addition of our raw materials”.
He also urged the Nigerian Government to remove a lot of bottlenecks hindering exports out of Nigeria.
“Government should support the production of Nigerian-made goods in target foreign countries where some of these products can be useful to residents of those target countries.
“At the same time, there will be a reversed impact of these opportunities for Nigerians back home,” he said.
He commended the recent efforts made by the Federal Government to improve the overall ease of doing business and called for the political will for their implementation. (NAN)