Cement, auto-spare parts and even cars have emerged as three of the 13 National Strategic Export Products, NSEP, to replace oil in an effort to diversify the nation’s revenue base, says the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. This comes as President Mohammadu Buhari stated yesterday at the state house that the time of over reliance on petroleum as sole source of revenue generation in the country is over.
Mr President made this disclosure when he granted audience to Dr Kanayo Nwanze, the Nigerian born President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at the Presidential Villa.
NEPC, earlier, had identified auto-spare parts export, cement and even car as part of 13 other products from the country’s vast agro-allied industry as having rich potentials for export. The council, on its website, stated that this was part of efforts to address the quest to increase the basket of exportable products from Nigeria following the dwindling oil revenue.
Concurring with the findings of NEPC, the federal government has promised greater attention to agriculture sector, saying Nigeria can only continue to ignore the sector at its peril.
President Muhmmadu Buhari stated that crude oil and gas exports will no longer be sufficient as the country’s major revenue earner.
“It’s time to go back to the land. We must face the reality that the petroleum we had depended on for so long will no longer suffice. We campaigned heavily on agriculture, and we are ready to assist as many as want to go into agricultural ventures,” Femi Adesina, the president’s media adviser quoted Mr Buhari as saying.
The president pledged that his administration will also cut short the long bureaucratic processes that Nigerian farmers had to go through to get any form of assistance from government.
He told the IFAD President that improvement of the productivity of farmers, dry season farming, and creative ways to combat the shrinking of the Lake Chad will also receive the attention of his administration.
“There is so much to be done. We will try and articulate a programme and consult organizations like IFAD for advise,” the President said, adding that foreign exchange will be conserved for machinery and other items needed for production, “instead of using it to import things like toothpicks.”
Dr Nwanze congratulated President Buhari on his victory at the general elections and assured him that IFAD was ready to give all possible assistance to the Federal Government and Nigerian farmers to boost agricultural production in the country.
IFAD is an international organization dedicated to addressing issues of agriculture and poverty alleviation. It was established in 1978, and has been collaborating with Nigeria for over 30 years.
NEPC on NESPs, on the other hand, grouped the 13 products under three categories these are agro industrial, mining related and oil and gas industrial products.
It said: “For agro industrial it has palm oil, cocoa, sugar, rice and cashew while mining related are cement, Iron ore/metals, auto parts/cars, aluminium.
“The other oil and gas industrial products have petroleum products, fertiliser/urea, petrochemical and menthol.”
It added that with dwindling oil revenue, coupled with the quest to increase the basket of exportable products from Nigeria, the council had planned to launch the One-State-One- Product initiative.
According to the statement, the initiative is targeted at developing and promoting one product for export per state.
Besides, the initiative takes cognisance of the country’s comparative advantage in terms of the vastness of its natural endowments.
It also considers “effort to diversify the nation’s revenue base, using the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan”.
It noted that the economic pundits and stakeholders in the sector believed that when OSOP becomes operational, it would shore-up the revenue of the 36 federating states.
It stated that in order to fast track the initiative, the council would have a two-day capacity building programme for State Committees on Export Promotion and City Chambers of Commerce and Industries in all the states.
The project would develop the capacity and prepare stakeholders for the implementation of the plan, thus ensuring qualitative and quantitative products for non-oil exports, it stated.
According to the Executive Director of the council, Olusegun Awolowo, “The underlined objective of the programme includes to upgrade the technical knowledge of the state committees.”
It will also “bridge the gap between the council and relevant stakeholders at the state level and equip them with non-oil export Project Management Skills covering techniques of export project formulation, monitoring and evaluation.
“This interface would enable participants to engage in effective partnership to NEPC in promoting the development of the non-oil export sector.”