By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto, June 8, 2022 The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in collaboration with the First Bank of Nigeria Plc has begun the training of 80 women entrepreneurs in modern export skills in Sokoto State.
The Head, Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Sokoto Smart Office, Mr Ahmed Yahaya, stated this at the inauguration of the training exercise on Wednesday in Sokoto.
Yahaya urged women entrepreneurs to register with the Council to stand the chance of benefiting from the available opportunities.
He said the bank would provide soft loans for women enterprenuers to pursue export businesses.
He said the Council had facilitated a deal with the bank to encourage businesses in the North-West region to present their products for export provided they met the standards criteria set out by the Council and National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The Council, he said in partnership with the bank would assist in promoting goods at international markets for proper marketing.
He said the gesture would accelerate non oil export to fast track sustainable social and economic development in the country.
Amb. Nafisa Abubakar-Zaki, an entrepreneur and socal development expert, urged women to utilise the abundant human and natural resources in the region.
Abubakar-Zaki in a paper presentation titled: “Export Potentials for Women,” said that trade enhanced opportunities for anyone regardless of gender or background to excel in their businesses.
Abubakar-Zaki who dwelled on successes and challenges of her company, Zaki Gems General Services LTD, urged women to discard social and cultural impediments to enable them to improve their lives.
Also speaking, a Canada-based entrepreneur, Mr Kemi Amusan, urged the participants to concentrate on the training exercise and emulate other successful women.
Amusan, who is the Chief Executive Director, Global Women Ambassadors in Canada, spoke virtually and lauded the partnership aimed at creating opportunities for women enterprenuers at the grassroots.
She expressed readiness to partner with the small businesses to promote exports of Made-in-Nigeria goods, and urged the council to work closely with Nigerians in Diaspora.
Two other papers were also presented by First Bank officials, Mr Efua Gbadamosi, Head, Export Desk and Mrs Bamidele Kutemi, Unit Head, Youth and Women Banking.
The papers titled: “Accessing non-oil export finance facilities,” and “Women Products and their Accessibility” were delivered virtually, respectively.
One of the participants, Mrs Kudirat Adegoke, commended the gesture, saying it would encourage growth of women entrepreneurs and businesses at the grassroots.
“The seminar will spur women to do more having realised that people and corporate bodies believed in them,” she said, and urged government at all levels to create enabling environment for them to develop their potentials.