James Emejo in Abuja
The Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Thursday said the federal government is committed to growing the country’s non-oil export value to $8 billion next year from $1.2 billion in 2016-and further $25 billion by 2025.
He noted that the failure to diversify the economy from oil over the past years had led to several distortions in the economy, stressing that the zero oil programme was one of the initiatives of government aimed at rectifying the imbalance.
He spoke at the graduation of participants of the zero to export training programme in Abuja.
The zero to export initiative represented one of NEPC’s schemes focused on creating a new generation of Nigerian exporters through practical and theoretical training of business executives, bankers, civil servants and unemployed graduates among others in the export business.
The initiative is anchored on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with support from Deposit Money Banks, the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).
He described the zero oil plan as one of the practical steps of the federal government to realistically diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil.
Awolowo said already, the plan had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), adding that a committee under the chairmanship of the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, had been set up for its effective implementation.
“The zero to export programme is aimed at achieving specific objectives which include the development of new exporters from zero knowledge to a point of export readiness, equipping exporters using practical hand-holding approach, field training and mentorship to build a new crop of indigenous exporters.
“The council’s zero oil plan is the flagship programme aimed at mobilising public and private resources towards replacing oil as the number one source of foreign exchange. The programme equally has a vision of growing non-oil exports from $1.2bn in 2016 to $8bn in 2019 and eventually $25bn by 2025,” he said.