By Henry Umoru
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan said that if the country must achieve its set goal of becoming one of the top twenty largest economies of the world, Nigeria must embrace manufacturing and the non-oil sector, just as he said that the country must develop the non-oil sector with resources from oil.
He was speaking, last week, in Abuja at the first Nigerian Non-oil Sector Export Presidential Award 2010 for outstanding Corporate Organizations, individuals, state governments and related trade support institutions involved in promoting export trade activities in Nigeria.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye stressed that the nation’s future will be bleak if as a country we fail to diversification the country’s economy from oil to non-oil sector.
The three day event was organized by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC in collaboration with Olam, West African Cotton Company Limited with the CEO, Koinonia Ventures Limited, Femi Boyede as the Convener, with the theme: ‘Soaring Towards the Future… Non-oil Exports as Driver of Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020′.
According to him, we must pay serious attention to manufacturing, agricultural goods, movie production, among others because the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from these is very high, just as he hailed the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Koinonia ventures for putting up the first Nigerian non-oil export conference, exhibition and awards.
“The larger economy is the non-oil and gas and the future belongs to that. The nation should stick to that sector for improved and better economy,” the President said.
Participants at the end of the three day conference called on the government to diversify the economy if the 20:2020 target must be achieved, adding that export diversification was a key strategy for sustained economic growth.
Participants at the Conference were from the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), top Exporters, Banks, Shipping lines, Insurance Companies, Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other relevant government agencies. The target audience was an opportunity for all entities associated with Nigeria’s Non-Oil Exports to network, collaborate, synergize and create a new export opportunities.
According to the Communiqué, “Participants noted that economic diversification is crucial for effective participation in the global trading system. Participants noted that export diversification is a key strategy for sustained economic growth.
“Participants noted that appropriate trade strategies are derived from an adequate understanding of export diversification and growth.
“Participants acknowledged with keen interest that more potential for market penetration exists in developing than in developed countries but noted further that the composition of export diversification has to match the import structure of the target countries.
“Participants noted the progress in the on-going WTO Negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda particularly in the areas of Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access and commended the agreement to eliminate export subsidies by Developed nations by the year 2013.
“Participants noted that the key to Nigeria’s future is in the non-oil export as it is the major nation’s passport to gaining competitive economic advantage in today’s international community.
“Participants decried the continuous dependence on crude oil, being the country’s current main source of foreign exchange, due to the fact that crude oil is an exhaustible asset characterized by price fluctuations and thus, cannot be relied on for sustainable development.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard Media Limited was given the most Export Friendly media award and it was received on behalf of the Organization by the Abuja Bureau Chief, Mr. Emmanuel Ujah, while other awards were those of outstanding export performance , exporter the year of cocoa, leather, plastics, foot wears, textiles, household items to most proactive state in export promotion among others.
Other beneficiaries were Olam Nigeria limited as the overall best exporter of the year; Saro agro-allied limited as best indigenous exporter of the year-cocoa; Eleme Petro-chemicals Company limited as the plastics exporter of the year and African textile manufacturers limited as the textiles exporter of the year.
Multimix export academy won the export support services for education, Niger state as the most proactive state in export promotion among other recipients.
In a media chat, Programme Director/CEO, MultiMix Academy, Obiora Madu, stressed that exportation of education should not be left for the government alone, adding that there must be synergy between the government and the private sector.