Government policies have a tremendous effect on a country’s ability to be competitive, yet not many governments in developing nations have the necessary resources to develop investment-friendly policies that will trigger economic growth. This can be one of the biggest barriers to the sustainable growth of a high-quality private sector.
Recognizing this reality, The Tony Elumelu Foundation partnered with Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC) to provide strategic human resources. These fellows – The Elumelu Fellows were placed in key positions within the agency and focused on enhancing the NEPC’S capacity to create strategic initiatives and provide delivery support. This approach was in line with TEFs intent to enable a stronger and more strategic engagement between policy makers and the private sector. Through the Elumelu Fellowship Programme, Maureen Ideozu was assigned as Technical Advisor to the NEPC working with the CEO to increase Nigeria’s export of agricultural products.
Among her numerous responsibilities, she was tasked with working directly with NEPC CEO, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, to increase Nigerian private sector participation in global trade and liaise with the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, other government agencies, as well as private sector organizations to implement the NEPC’s strategic plan.
With experience in various policy organisations having worked as Team Lead, Service Delivery Improvement Output, for the Federal Public Administration Reform programme (FEPAR) and served as Chief SERVICOM Officer for SERVICOM, Maureen led the strategic alignment of NEPC driving its restructuring programme and delivering a wholesome engagement that cut across several sectors including ICT Audit, Branding, Strategy and positioning NEPC as an economic driver. She also led the communication adhoc committee which introduced the NEPC Magazine which has gone on to an export guide for Nigerian business owners.
Top on Maureen’s list after joining NEPC in 2014 was to ramp up non-oil export and this she contributed to through the ‘Zero Oil Agenda’ which is central in the Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP). The plan identifies 11 strategic products, and 21 countries, for Nigerian goods, to grow non-oil foreign exchange from $2.7 billion today, to $30 billion in five years. In 3 years, Maureen and the team at NEPC have made progress in this regard which has placed Nigeria as tops in production and export of Seven Agricultural products.
Also, a key role for Maureen while at NEPC was driving partnerships that will improve the number of exports from Nigeria, working alongside UNIDO, LFDW. She was instrumental to the partnership of International Trade Centre and NEPC leading to the launch the She Trades initiative in Nigeria which seeks to attract and give women a platform for trade committing to connecting 200,000 women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020. Her role in the She trades was recognized by Founder, Tony O. Elumelu during the launch of the program “Maureen has been a good ambassador of the Tony Elumelu Foundation here at the NEPC and instrumental to the success of this programme”
Driven by a personal conviction that NEPC was a sleeping giant that needed to be re awakened, she has recorded success at various levels of engagements and these successes have not come without challenges one of which she says is bureaucracy but with interpersonal skills and a drive for institutionalization, she has surmounted these challenges placing NEPC as a model organization.
3 years down the line and now on a path to entrepreneurship, Maureen says she owes her career success and success at NEPC to the Tony Elumelu Foundation “I owe my time in NEPC to the Tony Elumelu Foundation. For all the impact I made there TEF was instrumental to them. I have also benefitted immensely from the brand which is well recognized and reputable”.