The Executive Director/ CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, has assured that given the steps being taken to improve the non-oil exports, Nigeria will exit its dependence on crude oil revenue in 10 years. Awolowo made the declaration, while briefing correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa yesterday. He said that the NEPC targets $30 billion non-oil export revenue notwithstanding coronavirus within the same period.
He said “But more importantly, we must just continue, we must increase production and productivity all across the two sectors that the zero oil plan is postulating for the country and then we get out of it. “We cannot run an economy that 90 per cent of our earnings is from crude oil. It is just not working and that is what we are seeing throughout the years when we went into first recession when the world oil prices stood worldwide.” Noting the changing world dynamics, he said: “We need to move again from just raw materials, we need to look at the entire value chain and that is where you create jobs and that is where you earn more money.
“So, 10 in years’ time frame we are looking at getting $30 billion, but we must be consistent, we must invest more in the non oil sector than looking for oil.” Acknowledging the president’s support for NEPC and the non-oil export sector, he recalled that the non-oil exports sector was experiencing challenges, especially with the basic incentive, the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) being suspended, with over N350 billion in unpaid EEG claims.
“The situation had dire effects on exporters, some shut down plants, some laid off people thereby increasing the number of unemployed population. Mr President rescued the situation with his approval of the new EEG scheme.” On the implementation of the Zero Oil Plan, the NEPC boss affirmed that it has received enormous support and buy-in even as it is integrated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, adding that the National Economic Council has set up a National Committee on Exports to drive it.