NIGERIA – The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has unveiled that it will be partnering with Africa’s leading retailer, Shoprite, as the council seeks to boost Nigerian exports.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the partnership would help meet the council’s quest increasing the volume and value of the country’s non-oil exports

With Shoprite expected to open 75 stores in Nigeria within the next four years, Awolowo said he was optimistic that the NEPC working with Nigerian exporting companies would leverage the Shoprite platform to increase the basket of exportable products from Nigeria into African markets.

Awolowo added that a Memorandum of Understanding would be considered and signed by both parties soon in order to actualise the objectives of the trade partnership, reports The punch.

“This development is commendable and would help our exporting companies improve the quality of their products as well as build strong brands for Nigerian goods in the international market,” he said

The general manager of Shoprite Group, Nigeria, Mr Carl Erickson, said that the retailer was looking forward to expand outside of the African continent as part of strategic initiative to increase their operations.

Erickson said that the expansion will also promote distribution of Nigerian goods as well as goods those sourced from other countries within the continent in the international market.

He said with the partnership initiative, Nigerian products would be in good stead to compete with other brands in the international market as Shoprite would provide a platform for promoting and marketing the products beyond the shores of the country.

However, the technical consultant to Shoprite and managing director of Zippy Logistics, Mr. Kabir Shagaya, noted that there was a need to ensure seamless transportation of chosen products to be sold in Shoprite outlets across Africa.

Shoprite currently operates about 2, 689 outlets in 15 African countries while in Nigeria alone it operates 35 sales points employing over 6, 000 Nigerians across 15 States of the Federation.

Meanwhile, experts have called for a change in government policies such as  foreign exchange and double taxation in order to stimulate growth of Nigeria’s organised retail industry.

Total national sales from the sector dropped from US$125bn in 2016 to US$109bn in 2017, according to a report by the Global Retail Development Index, which measures retail investment, based on all relevant macro-economic and retail-specific variables in developing countries.