The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is concentrating its attention on the Republic of Togo in an attempt to boost the penetration and acceptance of Nigerian products in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The NEPC is scheduled to hold an exhibition in Lome, the Togolese capital, starting from July 27.
The Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. David Adulugba, said during the opening of a one-day interactive session in Lagos that preparations were being finalised between the two countries, according to a statement on Thursday.
He said the interactive session was to prepare participants for the 2013 exhibition and to sensitise them to the basic requirements during the trade show.
Adulugba, represented by the Director, Trade Information Department of the NEPC, said, "NEPC took the informed decision to organise the exhibition to boost the penetration and acceptance of made-in-Nigeria products."
He said statistical records of Nigeria's export destination revealed that ECOWAS market represented 11 per cent in order of export to other continents.
According to him, despite the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme and the principle of free trade and movement of persons among member states, the level of trade remained insignificant.
He said Nigeria's total export to ECOWAS compared to other countries was less than 13 per cent.
Adulugba said, "Nigeria has in the past stamped its presence in most West African states but has not been able to effectively penetrate the Francophone parts who mostly import from France despite the liberalisation of trade within the sub-region.
"The timely decision to stage the exhibition became more imperative considering the strategic location of Togo. More so, the event would assist to curb the large spate of informal trade between the two countries."
He said the other benefits of the solo exhibition included the unique opportunity to boost the economies of both countries, expansion of business frontiers for businessmen from each divide and another platform for strengthening of diplomatic ties.
In her remarks, the acting Zonal Controller, NEPC, Lagos, Mrs. Evelyn Obidike, said NEPC would synergise on the exhibition to take over markets in Africa.
"It means our companies will produce more goods, which will in turn guarantee more foreign exchange earnings and employment," Obidike said.