FG plans commodity exports to France, UK, others

Against the backdrop of the falling global oil prices which have led to sharp drop in Nigeria’s revenue, the Federal Government has commenced plans to export commodities to France, United Kingdom, Netherlands and a host of other countries in a bid to diversify the economy.

The Director-General, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, who made the disclosure in an interview, said a number of products had been added to the nation’s export commodity list.

He said some of the new products, which were added to the list last year, included soya meal, vegetable tanning extracts, brown beans, billboards and slug catcher.

Others are carbon dioxide gas, aluminum sulphate, palm juice, barite, Heineken beer and strawberry filling.

Awolowo said that apart from France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, other primary markets for the new products were Guinea, South Korea, Benin Republic, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Greece.

According to him, some non-traditional products including services exports such as finance, arts and entertainment like Nollywood home videos, horticulture, aqua culture and Nigerian cuisine have also been added to the list.

“The vigorous advocacy and promotion campaigns recently embarked upon by the council, coupled with the enterprise demonstrated by non-oil exporters, have made this possible,” Awolowo said.

The NEPC had in 2013 introduced new products including educational books, robusta coffee, double-folded dust sheets, ice making machines, mica muscovite, leather furniture, high-density polyethylene, aluminium ingots, reduced iron and iron pellets, garments and yam to the export list.

The NEPC director-general noted that the country’s exports were no longer limited to the traditional markets of Europe, especially the UK, adding that there was a steady growth in non-oil exports.

He said, “Diversification through non-oil exports remains the new and only avenue for developing the economy and achieving prosperity as oil has become unreliable. It is in pursuit of this goal that the Federal Government has now marked out 13 National Strategic Export Products that are meant to replace oil and shore up the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

“This is part of the spirited moves by the government towards reviving the dwindling national economy with emphasis on rapid growth of the non-oil sector for exports. In this regards, 13 National Strategic Export Products in three categories are now in focus. These include agro industrial products such as palm oil, cocoa, cashew, sugar and rice; mining related products such as cement, iron ore and metals, auto parts and cars, aluminium and oil and gas; and industrial products including petroleum products, fertilizer and urea, petrochemical and methanol.”

According to Awolowo, the country needs to join the league of other successful nations but with investment in the development of the non-oil sector.

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