By Patience Danjuma
Towards restructuring the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government is targeting to get at least $30 billion revenue from the current $5 billion from non-oil sources.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.
He briefed the press alongside the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Governor of Kwara State, Ahmed Abdulfattah, and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu.
According to Awolowo, Nigeria is going through the sharpest falls of export revenues in her history, losing over $100 billion (N30 trillion) of national export revenue between 2015 to 2017 due to the crashing oil prices, which resulted in recession.
He said, “The NEPC made a presentation to the NEC on a plan to restructure the Nigerian economy to survive without crude oil. The plan is called the zero oil plan.
“Council was informed that there was urgent need to rapidly ramp up non-oil exports as our future earnings from crude oil faces significant headwinds.
“The zero oil plan aims at earning at least $30 billion from non-oil sources in the near to medium term as against the current earnings of about $5 billion.”
He said the objectives of zero oil plan is to add $150 billion to Nigeria foreign reserves in the next 10 years, create 500,000 jobs, lift 10 million Nigerians out of poverty and integrate each state of the federation into the export value chain.
Awolowo said that the focus of the plan is on the export of rice, wheat, corn, palm oil, rubber, hides and skin, sugar, soya beans and automotive parts among others.
He listed the destination countries for Nigeria’s exports to include Netherlands, China, Iran, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Sapin, Italy, India, Saudi Arabia, among others.
He said NEXIM briefed the National Economic Council on the “States Export Development Initiative” which is being pursued as a medium to long term strategic plan aimed at stimulating and increasing deliberate funding intervention to SMEs in the non-oil sector for attainment of its objectives.
He further said that council was informed that one of the major objectives of the initiative is contributing to the implementation of economic policies of the country, like the ERGP and Agricultural Promotion Policy, among others.
He added that the initiative is built on schematic transaction dynamics with key features like provision of a dedicated funding of a minimum of N5 billion as a pilot phase with window for other facilities and partnership for transactional support.
“Council was further informed that the initiative will also help re-awaken the business consciousness of the states towards export and value added production especially in the areas of manufacturing, agro-processing and solid minerals,” he stated.
He said the Managing Director of NEPZA briefed council on the need to have more special economic zones in addition to the Calabar Free Trade Zone.
“He told the council that the major defect in Calabar Free Trade Zone is that the zones have not been linked to the Calabar Port and that there is urgent need to do so in order to make the zone a lot more effective.
“Partnership between the federal and state governments as well as the private sector is needed. He urged council to ensure that the location of free trade zones should be done strictly on business consideration and not political considerations.
“He also asked council to provide incentives for free trade zones to include linkage to rail line, express ways, close proximity to utilities, airports among others,” he stated.
The Council on Thursday also constituted a committee towards improving Nigeria’s non-oil exports.
The National Committee on Export Promotion is to review several ideas and suggestions tabled at the NEC meeting.
The committee consisted of three State Governors: Jigawa, Lagos and Ebonyi and the federal ministers from Industry, Trade & Investment, Agriculture & Rural Development, Power, Works & Housing, Transportation and Finance.
Other members of the Export Promotion Committee of NEC are the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, NEXIM Bank, and the CBN. Jigawa State Governor Alhaji Mohammed B. Abubakar is the Chairman, and Industry, Trade & Investment Minister, Dr. Okey Enelamah is Co-Chair.
The Committee which is expected to submit an initial report by November is expected to come up with a concise action plan on how to drive non-oil exports based on the presentations and discussions of Council at today’s meeting.
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