Executive director, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo has said the agency’s Zero Oil Plan is expected to generate about $30 billion from non-oil sources in the near future as against the current earnings of about $5 billion.
Speaking during the second National Committee on Export Promotion meeting in Lagos at the weekend, Awolowo explained that the zero-oil plan was an export revolution that involves every state playing a significant role.
According to him, major oil producing nations were planning their economies beyond oil export and, Nigeria must not be left behind. He said statistics have shown that agricultural export has picked up, adding that the only growth Nigeria had in 2017 was from non-oil exports particularly in agriculture.
He said: ‘‘The nation is gradually coming into the diversification programme of the government which is hinged on the nation’s industrial revolution plan. That is the way to go but we need to scale up. I tell people that we can only export what has been produced. We need to produce more and raise productivity along those sectors and how to achieve that is the key work we are going to be doing in the state today.
“We have set targets and then we are going to see how much we have realised on those targets. That’s what the whole committee is going to work on.’’
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), Awolowo said: “It is not a rejection by Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). They have only raised their concern. A trade agreement in itself has remedies. We will continue to sensitise more and let everyone know. Nigeria itself has signed the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement and it has been ratified.
“In it, there are mechanisms if you think the industry is not being protected. So, that is what we will work out and that is what MAN is calling for. We don’t want to cripple out manufacturing. We also have our industrial revolution plan but we have to face it. We are now in a globalised world.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who was at the meeting, commended the federal government for establishing the zero- oil policy, adding that it will boost the nation’s balance of trade. He called for subsidies on other commodities to reduce cost of food for Nigerians, adding that it was possible since rice subsidy has been successful.
Ambode said that beyond commodity exports itemised in the zero-oil policy, Nigeria should evolve a mechanism to export the creative industry such as Afrobeats, arts and fashion, adding that they were in high demand in the global market. According to him, the country should put in place infrastructure and institutional framework to drive its zero oil policy to success as that will translate to wealth for the country.
Also speaking, National Economic Council (NEC), Mr. Olajide Odewale, secretary, said that no economy can survive with just one commodity, adding that NEC took the initiative to drive economic diversification through the zero-oil plan.
He said that the federal and state governments partnered through the plan to enhance economic growth, boost foreign earnings, reduce poverty among Nigerians and create jobs.
According to him, the zero-oil plan seeks to increase the foreign reserve to $150billion in the next ten years, create additional 500, 0000 jobs, lift 10 million Nigerians from poverty and integrate each state of the federation into the export value chain. Olawale said that government would continue to invest in critical infrastructure and create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
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