FOR the nation to be long to the league of 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020, Nigeria must as a matter of urgency diversify her economic base by developing and promoting its non-oil exports, the Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. David I. Adulugba has said.
Mr. Adulugba stated this in Abuja during a courtesy visit by the Director-General of Niger State Commodities and Export Promotion Agency (NICEPA), Mohammed Kontagora.
He pointed out that a major benefit of diversifying the economy is that it would further guarantee a secured future for the youths as it would provide job opportunities and wealth creation. According to him, â€œexports is actually the engine room of the economy. Our over-dependence on crude oil has shifted our mindset towards the development and promotion of non-oil exports.â€
Although, the council, Adulugba said has the mandate to realise these objectives he, however, implored other stakeholders in the sector, particularly state governments to partner with the NEPC in developing new products in order to increase the basket of exportable products from Nigeria.
â€œThere is need to diversify our economy. Our youths and indeed our graduates are all over the place searching for jobs. The government cannot shoulder the responsibility alone. Now is the time to develop and promote other sectors of the economy for sustainable economic growth,â€ he added.
Responding, Kontagora explained that the creation of the agency was necessitated by the need to generate alternative revenue and for job creation. While requesting for assistance in developing some products in the state, he noted that the development and promotion of shea butter will increase revenue generation for the country due largely to its huge export potentials.
He also said that the state government is making concerted effort to establish a shea butter village to take care of processing and production of the product in order to ensure quality. Kontagora, however, said that one of the challenges confronting the state is its quest to establish an Export Conditioning Centre for some agricultural products like yam. He said when operational, the centre will ensure that these products meet the requisite standards for the international market.
He further appealed to the council to assist the state in the establishment of a Common Facility Centre (CFC) for shea butter as well as a Human Resources Development Centre with a view to organising an Export Skills Acquisition Programme for officials of the state government.
Among those that received the Director-General were the Director, Trade Information, Planning and Coordination, Mr. A. Akor, Director, Product Development, Mrs. Omowumi Osibo, Deputy Director, Publications, Mr. Agbogun, the NEPC Zonal Controller, Minna, Chief A. Auta and Deputy Director, Market Development, Mr. Sidi Aliu.