Nigeria is now about launching into another era of economic boom predicated o effective harnessing of non oil products for growth an development, the Executiv Director of Nigerian Exports Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo has assured. Awolowo said this agains the background of Nigeria’s dwindling revenue from oil resources caused by the glut in global prices while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.
He stated that the non-oil sector has the potential to quickly revive the country’s economy if properly and adequately explored. Awolowo said NEPC has the mandate to develop the non-oil sector to a maximum capacity for Nigeria to attain a measure of economic growth not dependent on oil resources in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluc Jonathan.
There have beenapprehensions in the business circle about the continuous slide in the international price of crude oil which reports said, stood at $56.42 per barrel. The problem had also been having negative impact on Nigeria’s exchange rate, as the Naira is currently exchanged a N193 to $1, owing to a measure of devaluation introduced by the Federal Government. Awolowo asked Nigerians not to panic with the turn of events but should see the receding economy as blessing in disguise meant to catalyse the spirit of collective responsibility in them towards growing the national economy through the non-oil sector. He said, “We in NEPC are fully prepared to blaze the trail in developing the non-oil secto to enhance the productive capacity of Nigeria, beginnin from this year. “We cannot but saddle ourselves with the task of bailing Nigeria out of the harsh economy by developing synergies with individuals and state governments, for instance, to jerk up the capacity for agriculture to yield foreign exchange for Nigeria” He said NEPC had crafted a game-changing measure in this regard such that each state would be encouraged to invest in, at least, on agricultural product, which has comparative advantage for export. The NEPC Director said Nigeria was already in a good stead to record success with the initiative more because the country remains a leading world producer of not less than eight agricultural products.
He listed such products as Cassava, Yam, Palm Produce, Kolanuts, groundnuts, Maize, Cocoa, Shea butter, Sorghu as well as cash crops such as mangoes, cashew, gum Arabic and others which are grown i many states of the federation in commercial quantity. He said in addition to its capacity to generate huge foreign currencies for Nigeria, a huge export in agricultural products also has the capacity to offer moving Nigerian graduates and youths employment opportunities. He said in the current year, the NEPC would explore every opportunity that the United States’ AGOA could offer to the farmers in Nigeria, adding the federal government would do more in encouraging farmers to explore such opportunities for self-enrichment. Awolowo said part of NEPC’s aims towards promoting nonoil sector capacity in Nigeria included ensuring the creation of jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths, increase in capital investments, increase in specialization, standards and competitiveness as well as increase the foreign exchange earnings for the country.