The Organised Private Sector Exporters Association (OPEXA), has appealed to the Federal Government to settle the backlog of unutilised Negotiable Duty Credit Certificates (NDCC), amounting to N150 billion.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Jaiyeola Olanrewaju, Executive Secretary of OPEXA, and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement stated that the operations of non-oil exporters had been paralysed due to the non-payment of outstanding NDCC claims.
NAN reports that the NDCC is an instrument of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), which was introduced in 1999 to encourage non-oil exports.
The grant is given to Nigerian exporters in the form of NDCC to cushion the effect of cost disadvantages faced by them as a result of infrastructural deficiencies.
It said explained that NDCCs are utilised by beneficiaries for payment of customs and excise duty on their export shipments after they being validated by the government.
However, the government suspended the scheme in January 2014 to pave way for its review, according to the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The statement said that the backlog of unutilised NDCCs had accumulated to the tune of N150 billion as at the end of 2013 before the scheme was suspended.
This, according to the statement, has paralysed the operations of exporters leading to a decline in the country’s non-oil exports.
“The Nigeria Customs Service public notice of Dec. 10, 2014, indicates that 155 companies mentioned in the list had about N94 billion worth of NDCC outstanding in their favour.
“Others that were not on the list were told to wait for the next batch. Of this backlog, only N5billion was approved for utilisation.
“However, the non-oil exporters claimed that the backlog of unutilised NDCC at the end of 2013 was over N150 billion.
“It is imperative to note that there is a huge backlog of NDCCs yet to be processed as at January 2014 when the embargo was placed’’, it said.
The statement stated that the issue was largely responsible for the decline in the non-oil exports by 10 per cent in 2014 and 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.
It added that the development was worsening the country’s foreign exchange situation as well as posing a great challenge to its economic diversification agenda.
It statement recommended five urgent measures to be taken by government to restore the confidence of stakeholders in the export business.
It urged government to instruct Customs to accept utilisation of NDCCs for duty payment as per extant policy, adding that Ministry of Finance should treat the backlog in a time-bound manner.
“The Nigeria Export Promotion Council should process electroencephalographic (EEG) against exports made till December 2014 as per extant policy.
“A meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee on EEG should be reconvened in conjunction with the organised private sector’’, it said.
The statement urged the federal government to make a policy pronouncement on non-oil exports and restart the EEG policy.
According to him, the EEG policy is critical to the economic diversification agenda of the present administration. (NAN)
Source : Leadership