WorldStage Newsonline– The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council ( NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo has confirmed plans by the Council to raise 150 billion dollars revenue from sources outside the nation’s oil sector in the next 15 years.
Awolowo stated this when he briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of his closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, the zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity; already the Council has identified 22 sectors where Nigeria can earn foreign exchange apart from oil.
He said: ”We are hoping that in the next 10 -15 years we will be able to raise 150 billion dollars from sources outside oil.
”That is what we are working on and we are galvanizing the whole states behind us in other to raise production and productivity.
”We are working with the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to achieve this.
”You know the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) just announced an initiative on five of our products and giving them low interest rates to farm and raise production.”
He identified cocoa, sheer nut and cashew as some none oil revenue-making commodities in the country.
According to him, Cocoa is an immediate win for us because, it’s been our number one none oil revenue making.
”But we are on less than 300,000 metric tons, Ghana is heading to 900,000, Cote d’ Ivoire almost two million metric.
”So, how do we compete? Meanwhile if you see the landmass in Nigeria you can imagine what we can do.
”Another sector is sheer nut, cashew is another breadwinner for us. So, let’s raise production, let’s give our farmers low interest loan so that they can raise production for us.
”We are also looking at value addition for all because that is the way you create jobs, we cannot continue to sell the raw materials.
”I was happy to present to Mr. President some tomatoes and Bell peppers from a green house in Benin.
”I also presented to him Casanovas, which is cassava chips which a cottage industry is producing in Idu Industrial Estate, that is already being exported to Germany. And that is the future for Nigeria. We are about to enter into.”
On packaging and substandard products, Awolowo stated that even though the country is facing few challenges, its products meant for exports were no longer substandard.
According to him, our products are no longer substandard and we are exporting all over West Africa and Inter-land Africa.
”We have a few challenges here and there but I always tell people, the journey of processing raw materials to producing goods is not going to happen over night. We are going to have rejects but we will not succumb to them.
”Our packaging is improving and we are even packaging and labeling in different languages so we can get into those markets, particularly when Africa opens up for us now,” he added.
On President’s response, Awolowo revealed that ”the president was very pleased, he promised to give continuous support for this export.
”I thank him that we have paid the backlogs on the export expansion grant, that is an incentive that we give to exporters.
”We owed them for several years but we have reversed the whole system and the president approved the payment of the backlog of N350 billion to pay them.
”The National Assembly has appropriated and approved N190 billion out of it so far and we are paying it through the Debt Management Office (DMO).”