The Director-General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo, has declared that the ambitious decision to achieve a zero oil policy economy is possible with support from stakeholders and states governments.
Speaking yesterday on Arise Television Morning Show Programme, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, Awolowo said after addressing the National Economic Council (NEC) which is the highest economic advisory council in the country chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the federal government set up an export promotion committee called the National Export Promotion Committee to activate and work out the zero oil plan under the chairmanship of the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.
According to him, the Governor of Lagos State and the Governor of Ebonyi State are committee members.
“When we started looking at the zero oil plan then, if you remember, there was a moment where oil led to the recession of our economy where oil traded for as low as $20 per barrel and our cost of production was $32 a barrel. It was a low brainer that the economy had to fall into recession despite best intentions.
“We looked at it and say Nigeria must and can survive in a world economy where she no longer sells oil. It is a big and bold ambition like you say, but countries must work with an ambition, get a plan and work towards it.
“We have the Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Mines and Steel, which is a big aspect of our zero oil plan; so, we started meeting and we have had two national meetings with representatives of each state.
“We are going back to NEC to report and some of the things that would come up is that we are going to set up an anchor borrowers programme for export designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Of course, they are also members, so that we can actually have more finance towards export and the whole idea is that our economy has to be export driven to earn foreign exchange.
“In the zero oil plan, when we were coming up three years ago, soyabeans is trading $100 billion annually and when you look at the trade war going on in America, if we had increased production and productivity of our soya beans, we would have been in a perfect opportunity now to sell to China because China is the biggest buyer of soyabeans and now they are having problems with the US where President Donald Trump is raising tariffs.” He has done that on soya, steel and this is affecting the Turkish Lira where it has lost 40 per cent of its value in just one week, so you can see the importance of what trade is and had we followed up with the zero oil plan, it is about increased production and productivity, if we had improved on our soyabean supply, imagine the Chinese market will have just come straight to us.”