Monday, 21 September 2015

NON-OIL SECTOR KEY TO ECONOMIC REVOLUTION

At a time like this when the country is facing the challenges of dwindling foreign exchange earnings and depleting foreign reserves, there is need for concerted efforts to develop the nations numerous commodities with a view to diversifying the economy.

Thankfully, presently the non-oil sector holds the key to an economic revolution that would catapult the nation into an economic super power. Given the potentials of the sector to turn the economy around through diversification of the nation’s revenue base from oil to non-oil coupled with its capacity to provide the need for the economic planners to formulate policies that would help stimulate robust activities in the sector

Before now Nigeria economy has been run solely on oil, practically all government at all level depend on proceeds from oil. The Ministry of Trade and Investment has clearly articulates the industrialisation roadmap of the nation in the Nigerian Strategic Export Products (NSEP) to replace oil.

Experts have called on agencies of government and commercial banks to deepen their support for Small Medium Enterprises SMEs, through the provision of affordable funding in order to boost non-oil export activities in the sub sector. They requested that Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) should be present in all 36 states of Nigeria to drive the promotion of non-oil exports effectively while sourcing alternative funding to enhance its operation.

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Recently, nine Nigeria firms had an impressive outing in Las Vegas, United States, where made in Nigeria fashion accessories were showcased. The accessories which enthralled lots of visitors as Nigeria products had neat and impressive finishing. Among participants in the fair is Morin-O Ltd, owned by Miss Monrin Obayewa who is into leather works such as bags, Purse, wallet and Puffs.

Miss Obayewa has lots of praises for the NEPC, for the opportunity she has so far in showcasing her products outside the shores of Nigeria. She said she sources her leather materials from tanneries in Northern Nigeria of Kano particularly, she is not using one tannery alone, she spreads round by moving from one tannery to the other so she could get the best, so far she has achieved a lot by doing just that, and it has worked for her tremendously.

The Morin O Company is all out to promote made in Nigeria, all her products carry ‘proudly Nigeria’. She said NEPC should keep doing what they are doing, stating that it shows they have significant interest beyond just taking artisans to fares.

The CEO of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, who was represented by Special Adviser Technical NEPC, Morine Idozu, said the Export Promotion Council is working round the clock to ensure diversification of the economy. She maintained that a lot of leather seen world- wide comes from Nigeria.

Recent development in the international economic and political scene has provided a wakeup call on the need for a game changer for Nigeria. It is time to galvanise a new initiative to reduce our over dependence on oil and diversify the economy. Since reaching its peak in June 2014, the price of crude oil has fallen roughly by 60%.

There has been a steady growth in non-oil exports with the country raking in $2.970billion in 2013, a 15.9% increase over $2.561bn in 2012 with agriculture dominating in 2014 by contributing $1.465b and 53.99% of non-oil exports. All this gains are being threatened by the re-curing issue of rejects of Nigerian exported agricultural commodities and food items. (thisday)