Stakeholders seek ways to boost non-oil exports

Stakeholders in the non-oil export sector, represented by state committees on export promotion in the various states of the federation, met recently in Lagos to discuss techniques of non-oil exports in the country.

Tagged, “Techniques of non-oil export project formulation and implementation,”the two-day integrated capacity building workshop for state committees on export promotion, also presented a platform for the launch of the One State One Product campaign by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.

The council, in a statement issued at the end of the first day of the programme, remarked that in view of the dwindling oil revenue, coupled with the quest to increase the basket of exportable products from Nigeria, it had concluded arrangements to launch the OSOP initiative targeted at developing and promoting one product for export per state.

The statement added that the initiative had taken cognisance of the country’s comparative advantage in terms of the vastness of its natural endowments as well as effort to diversify the nation’s revenue base using the Nigeria’s Industrial Revolution Plan.

The council in the statement noted further that under the NIRP, it had identified 13 national strategic export products that would replace oil.

It listed the 13 products which fell into various categories; agro-industrial, mining, oil and gas, industrial products, palm oil, cocoa, sugar, rice, cashew, petroleum products, fertilizer/urea, petrochemical and menthol.

“Stakeholders in the sector are of the view that when OSOP becomes operational, it is expected to shore up the revenue of the 36 federating states, provide jobs as well as create wealth along the value chain,” the statement read.

Presenting a paper at the workshop, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, remarked that using the country’s comparative advantage, one product would be adopted in each state and developed down its value chain to enhance competiveness and achieve economic inclusion.

He said, “Although Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of seven agricultural export commodities, including cassava, yams, shea nuts and sorghum, it is not reflected in global trade.

“Nigeria is also among dominant global producers of 15 other products including cocoa, palm produce, potatoes, maize, cashew nuts, gum Arabic and kolanuts but the country does not get the requisite market share.”

The NEPC CEO noted further that the two day capacity building workshop would develop the capacity of the various state committees on export promotion and city chambers of commerce and industries in all the states.

It will also prepare stakeholders for the implementation of the plan, thus ensuring qualitative and quantitative products for non-oil exports.

He said, “The objectives of the programme include: upgrading the technical knowledge of the state committees on export promotion and product development experts, bridging the gap between the council and relevant stakeholders at the state level and equipping them with non-oil export project skills covering techniques of export project formulation, monitoring and evaluation.

“This interface will enable participants to engage in effective partnership to NEPC in promoting the development of the non-oil sector.”

To ensure sustainability and successful implementation of the state committees’ concept, the council urged the state governments to support the programme by opening smart offices in their various states as strategic platforms to assist the state committees in developing the export potential of their respective geo-political zones.

In her goodwill message delivered at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Chairperson, Lagos State Export Promotion Committee, Mrs. Abimbola Umar, who represented the state government stated that the hosting of the workshop in Lagos state was in recognition of its strategic position as a state that had the potential of greatly enhancing non-oil export activities.

Umar charged the NEPC with coming up with an export- accelerated programme that would place promotion of non-oil export in the front burner of national discourse.

She said, “The various state committees should be used as the implementation arm of such programme, while the NEPC serves as the coordinating centre. Such a programme should have an in-built monitoring system that will ensure a periodic progress review where set targets are measured.

“In this regard, the state committees should be enhanced to be able to discharge the expected responsibilities.”

Punch

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