THE Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has reiterated the need to promote non-oil exports for Nigeria to meet its national and global economic demands.
Dr Ezra Yakusak, Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, said this at a five-day export promotion capacity-building programme which began on Monday in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the programme, designed to train stakeholders in the export sector, was organised by Fidelity Bank PLC in partnership with the Lagos Business School (LBS) and NEPC.
Represented by Mr Babatunde Falake, Director, International Export Office, NEPC, Yakusak said that emphasis must shift from crude oil export and be laid on export of Nigeria’s vast resources.
“Recent developments in our national economy and indeed the global economy have made it clear to us that more emphasis should now be laid on export of our vast resources if we must survive as a nation.
“It is unfortunate that Nigeria, having been blessed with resources in agriculture, solid minerals, entertainment industry, creative arts, Information and Communication Technology, fashion and of course manufacturing has continued to rely on export of crude oil as the major source of foreign exchange,” Yakusak said.
He said that the council’s zero oil plan developed in response to the recession in 2016 following the crash in crude oil prices, was targeted to prepare Nigeria for a world with less emphasis on export of crude oil.
According to Yakusak, it was a strategy for boosting foreign exchange through the non-oil export policies for 22 major products that could generate up to $30 billion foreign exchange within a period of five years.
“The 22 products include cotton, petrochemicals, fertilisers, palm oil, rubber, cement, tomatoes, and bananas. Others are oranges, cashew, cassava, sesame, spices, ginger, shea butter and cowpea,” he said.
He expressed NEPC’s commitment to continue to support efforts in sensitising Nigerians to embrace non-oil export as a viable option for economic growth and survival.
“The Council recently launched the ‘Export 4 Survival’ campaign which is aimed at sensitising Nigerians from all walks of life to embrace non-oil export as a viable option for our economic growth and survival.
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“The campaign is already making an impact as the council, with its activities, is now more on the limelight nationwide.
“It is expected that this will definitely result in increased revenue from the non-oil sector in the near future.
“What we are doing today through partnership with Fidelity Bank and Lagos Business School is highly commendable.
“A look at the various topics for discussion clearly demonstrates our readiness to equip the participants with the required knowledge and skills for successful export business and specially to curtail the rejection of non-oil exports from Nigeria,” Yakusak said.
One of the facilitators, Dr Frank Ojadi, faculty member, Lagos Business School, said that building the capacity of Nigerians and providing the needed infrastructure were critical in attracting people into exports.
“One of the challenges of export trade lies more in equipping people, building their capacity in what exporting means and therefore you need to learn the trade, the processes and the procedures.