Chief executive officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, has said that the real sector players in the Nigerian economy are capable of taking the economy out of recession by taking advantage of the numerous export promotion opportunities provided by the NEPC.

He said, on the other hand, that the federal government has a golden opportunity in its hands to invigorate the pledge of diversifying the economy towards agriculture and manufacturing since the oil sector is failing

According to him while Nigeria’s exports profile is dominated by a failing oil sector, there has been steady decline in non-oil exports in the last three years.

Addressing a media parley yesterday, Awolowo stated that Nigerian economy recorded a 15.9% increase in the $2.970 billion non-oil exports recorded in 2013, from the $2.561 billion recorded in 2012, there has been a steady decline thereafter

The volume declined by 8.6% to $2.714 billion in 2014 and by 40.14% to $1.624 in 2015, according to the NEPC records. Meanwhile, within the period in review, Nigeria exported 117 products to 102 countries

“Nigeria’s non-oil export potentials are not fully exploited despite endowed natural resources especially in solid minerals and agriculture,” he said

According to him, there is limited local content value addition, whereas export products from Nigeria are mostly in primary forms. He attributed some of the challenges faced by the real sector in Nigeria to poor infrastructure, power, standards, finance, skills and capacity.

“There is lack of patronage from major oil consumers like the US due to preference for Shale oil. Nigeria’s economic situation has been made worse by the sharp fall in crude oil price by roughly 50%, impact of insurgency especially in the North East, the non-resolution of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Nigeria and the European Union, insufficient maximization of the potentials of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements such as ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme, AGOA etc.,” he said

Awolowo said that although NEPC is bedeviled with teething problems, the agency is determined to support the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari to shift towards the non oil exports.

He encouraged manufacturers and other players in the real sector to freely approach the NEPC, including the website, and take advantage of the free advisory services and enjoy the export incentives

He stressed with increased foreign exchange earnings from key agricultural products through value addition, Nigeria is bound to exit recession in a short period.

Expected outcome of a well mobilized non-oil export sector include export culture imbibed by all states, job creation along the value chains, economic inclusion and empowerment especially for women & youths, improved perception and image of the country, increased global market share, increased specialization in production, trade and services.

Other outcomes are improve foreign exchange reserves, favorable balance of payment/balance of trade statistics, growth in national GDP, appreciation of local currency vis-a-vis other international currencies, and improved standard of living of the citizenry and general national economic development.

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