Zero-oil Plan an Export Revolution, Says Awolowo


Oluchi Chibuzor

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has described the zero-oil plan as an export revolution that involves every state playing a significant role.

According to him, major oil producing countries are planning their economies beyond oil export and Nigeria must not be left behind.

“In line with the growth recovery plan, our effort is to drive an export revolution where every state in Nigeria has a role to play in moving our foreign earning from $5b to $30b because Nigeria has a comparative advantage of agricultural products,” he said.

The zero oil plan aims at earning at least $30 billion from non-oil sources in the near to medium term as against the current earnings of about $5 billion, he explained.

The NEPC boss made the declaration recently during the 2nd National Committee on Export Promotion Meeting in Lagos.

Also at the event, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, declared his support for Nigeria to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“Nigeria is one of the two countries left to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; typical of us, we were going round the country sensitising and to know whether we should join. We should have joined since yesterday. We should show leadership. The whole of Africa is waiting for Nigeria to show leadership.

“If we have the largest GDP and have overtaken South-Africa, what are we waiting for? The fact is that if we want to begin to export, we must be the champion of Africa. We must be the Germany of Africa. If we do not drive the economy of Africa, it would not drive itself. Africa must sell to Africa first, that should be the cornerstone of our export policy,” he added.

Ambode commended the federal government for establishing the zero-oil policy, saying it will boost the nation’s balance of trade.

The governor called for subsidy on other commodities to reduce cost of food for Nigerians, adding that it was possible since rice subsidy has been successful.

He said beyond commodity export itemised in the zero-oil policy, Nigeria should evolve mechanism to export Afrobeat, arts and fashion, adding that they are in high demands in the global market.

According to him, the country should put in place infrastructure and institutional frameworks to drive its zero oil policy to success that will translate to wealth for the country.

Also speaking, the Secretary, National Economic Council (NEC), said no economy can survive with just one commodity and that NEC took the initiative to drive economic diversification through the zero-oil plan.

He said the federal and state government partnered through the plan to enhance economic growth, boost foreign earnings, reduce poverty among Nigerians and create jobs.

According to him, the zero-oil plan seeks to increase the country’s external reserves to $150 billion in the next 10 years, create additional 500, 0000 jobs, lifts 10 million Nigerians from poverty and integrate each state of the federation into the export value chain.

Olawale said government would continue to invest in critical infrastructure and create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Also, the Senior Special Adviser to Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Governor on Development Finance, Mr. Tunde Akande, said the central bank would replicate its Anchor Borrowers Programme for export promotion.

He said the ABP has recorded tremendous developmental impact on smallholder farmers and enhanced value chain in various local communities and increased sustainable participation of private sector in agriculture.

He said that as at June, ABP had disbursed N89.5 billion to 398, 704 farmers and supported 10 different commodities across the country.