About 22 sectors capable of generating foreign exchange for the federal government in place of crude oil have been identified, Segun Awolowo, the executivedDirector, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has said.
Awolowo disclosed this on Friday while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He did not disclose the 22 identified sectors.
He said he briefed the president on the government’s zero oil implementation plan and what the national committee on export promotion set up by the National Economic Council was doing to diversify the economy.
The special committee, which has the governor of Jigawa State as its chairman, was charged with the responsibility of looking for alternative sources of funding for the economy outside crude oil.
According to Awolowo, although the price of crude oil, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the country’s revenue, has been rising in recent times, the country cannot survive on oil revenue alone.
“Government hopes to raise more revenue from other sources. Those days of $140 per barrel oil price are gone forever. So, we have to look inwards and produce more,” he said.
“The zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity. We have identified 22 sectors where we can earn foreign exchange, apart from oil.
“We are hoping that in the next 10-15 years we will be able to raise $150 billion from sources outside oil.”
Apart from mobilising the 36 states, he said the committee is also working with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies to help raise production and productivity in the economy.
Part of the strategy, he said, was the recent policy initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide loans at low interest rates to farmers to raise production of five cash crops, namely cocoa, Shea nuts, cashew, tomatoes and bell peppers.
With the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, Awolowo said Nigeria does not want to be a dumping ground for other economies.
He said the president refused to sign the agreement until now until the country was convinced we were ready, competitive, able to produce more, and help our manufacturers get into the market.
On the quality of products from Nigeria, he said apart from the packaging, “our products are no longer substandard, as they are being exported West Africa and Inter-land Africa.”
He said the president was excited about the work of the committee and promised to give continuous support for the export of the identified commodities.
Awolowo said government’s decision to clear the N350 billion backlog on the export expansion grant was a huge incentive to exporters.
He said the National Assembly has already appropriated and approved N190 billion out of the amount so far, which is being paid through the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“They exporters will get certificates they will use to cover their loans, debts, pay the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and pay taxes as well,” he said.
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Frontpage December 23, 2019