Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC and the Ministry of Agriculture have proffered ways to transform the sector as a key sector for job creation, food security and foreign exchange earner.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, speaking in his office when he received the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, who was on a courtesy visit, lamented that the country had not been able to achieve the full potential of the sector when compared to its abundant human and natural resources especially in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors.
The minister, therefore, announced plans to organise a national Agricultural Summit aimed at engaging the youths to get their buy-in and change the orientation that agriculture was only meant for never-do-well in the society even as he commended the NEPC for articulating a Zero Oil Plan to support the rapid diversification of the Nation’s economy through non-oil exports.
He noted that although there are several inhibitions to achieving a total diversification from oil to non-oil the Minister was optimistic that the challenges were not insurmountable. However, he maintained that the same advocacy must be carried to the doorsteps of the Governors in their respective States in order to make the states self-reliant and increase their Internally Generated Revenue IGR.
Corroborating the minister’s position Awolowo explained that NEPC, as part of its strategies to reposition the non-oil export sector adopted a one-state-one product programme, aimed at each state of the federation to develop and promote a choice exportable product where it has comparative and competitive edge for exports and can do well at international market.
He added that for national strategic export products, 13 products in three categories are now in focus. They include agro industrial such as palm oil, cocoa, cashew, sugar and rice; mining related products such as cement, iron ore/metals, auto parts/cars, aluminum and, oil and gas industrial products such as petroleum products, fertilizer/urea, petrochemical and pethanol.
Awolowo said the Nigerian Diaspora export programme, which has three major components, is targeted at Nigerians in the Diaspora through cuisine beyond borders, establishment of Nigerian Heritage Houses and encouraging our teaming the Diasporas to invest in the non-oil export sector.
“More recently, we have developed the Zero Oil Plan, in response to this administration’s charge that Nigeria must begin to look for new drivers of the economy. The plan is Nigeria’s strategic effort to build an economy that does not need oil to survive and can serve as a major flagship economic programme for the country,” he added.
The plan identifies 11 strategic products\sectors, and 21 countries, for Nigerian goods, to grow non-oil foreign exchange from US$2.7 billion today, to US$30 billion in five years.


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