Crusoe Osagie

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has announced plans to engage Nigerians in Diaspora to boost the nation’s non-oil export products, noting that this move was part of its contribution to the nation’s quest of economic diversification.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, explained that with the dwindling revenues from oil as a result of the sharp drop in oil prices and alternative sources of energy no thanks to the discovery of shale oil in the United States, has more than ever before, created an urgent need for accelerating the country’s economic diversification efforts.

Awolowo, who was represented by the South West, Regional Coordinator, NEPC, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, during a one-day stakeholders’ forum on Nigerian Diaspora Export progranne (NDEX), stated that the NDEX is one of the agency’s flagship programmes to contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

He added that to maintain the crucial role Nigerians in Diaspora are expected to play in achieving the aim of the programme, is due to that fact that about 15 million Nigerians who reside abroad reveals that about $21 billion was remitted by Nigerians living in these countries according to a World Bank report in 2013.

“Obviously, Nigeria trade has been largely driven by export of petroleum products which contributes about 17 per cent to the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which represents about 90 per cent of total merchandise exports and more than 80 per cent of government revenue. Therefore, this programme aims to leverage on the presence of Nigerians in Diaspora using their advantage of living in these countries to advance the promotion of Nigeria’s non-oil exports given that the Nigerian Diaspora has created a strong external market demand pull for indigenous foods, fashion and other products,” he said.

According to the NEPC, this demand pull which has necessitated a commensurate export supply push from Nigeria for such goods, representing non-oil exports prompted the council to initiate the programme based on three key areas which include the Nigerian Heritage City (NHC), the Nigerian Cuisine Beyond Borders (NCBB) and the Diaspora Export of Non-oil Products (DENOP).

He noted that the NDEX will help to increase participation in non-oil export trade by the large numbers of Nigerians in Diaspora, lead to multiplier effect in direct investment and tourism, increase the relevance of Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) among other financial service providers in providing financial support to Diaspora and other key stakeholders in the industry.

Furthermore, he said that the NHC emerges as a flagship Nigerian concept that will project the country’s image and cultural heritage with support from critical stakeholders and increase the visibility, acceptability and income generation for restaurant owners, Nigerian food importers, exporters and Nigerian farmers will be attained through NCBB.

He pointed out that the expected impact of NDEX towards a sustainable economic growth will create employment for Diaspora Nigerians to increase their income base and grow the national GDP, stimulate the promotion of the NEPC One State One Product (OSOP) programme and boost the volume of foreign exchange and also increase the ultiisation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and assist the relevant sectors improve quality and standards in order to access the US market.