The Federal Government has set aside the sum of N5.12bn in the 2019 budget for the payment of the Export Expansion Grant. This is contained in the breakdown of the industry trade and investment projects covered in the 2019 budget.
The EEG scheme was introduced in 1986 through the Export (Incentives and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (amended in 1992) to stimulate non-oil exports. The scheme is administered by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. However, it was suspended in 2014 following allegations of abuse.
Before the suspension of the scheme, the incentive was granted in the form of Negotiable Duty Credit Certificates utilisable by exporters for the payment of import and excise duties.The NDCC has now been replaced with the Export Credit Certificate, which can be used to settle all Federal Government taxes, companies’ income tax and others, as well as to purchase government bonds and repay government credit facilities and debts due to the Assets Management Company of Nigeria.
During the public presentation of the 2019 budget tagged, ‘budget of continuity,’ the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, indicated that the incentive would be paid through a tax credit.
Earlier, the minister had disclosed in his keynote address at the 42nd Annual Conference Dinner of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, in November 2018, that the government was reactivating the EEG and the Export Development Fund Scheme, with the sum of N13.28bn provided in the 2018 budget.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, explained during a stakeholders’ meeting last year, that the government had converted the EEG to national debt, to be paid through promissory notes issued to exporters who were owed backlog of EEG. Our correspondent gathered, however, that the payment of the N1.2tn backlog of the EEG for 2018 was delayed by the National Assembly.
It was gathered that the proposal had been approved by the Presidential Committee on Continuous Auditing and was awaiting approval by the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on National Debt. The payment of the EEG backlog for 2018 was yet to be made as of the time of filing this report.
According to Udoma, the 2019 budget is intended to further reposition the economy on the path of higher, inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth, and to continue to lift significant numbers of Nigerians out of poverty.