Nigeria can earn $30 billion and create 500,000 export-oriented jobs through 22 products from the non-oil sector.
Segun Awolowo, executive director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the weekend.
Awolowo said the country could generate huge revenue from cocoa, cotton, cement, leather, cashew, sesame, shea butter, palm oil, fertiliser, petrochemicals and rubber.
“What we hope to achieve is to raise more revenue for Nigeria from other sources. You know 90 percent of our revenue is from oil and we cannot survive,” he said.
“Even though oil prices are rising a bit because of Iran, there is problem there. But we should not rest on our oars because, those days of $140 per barrel is gone forever. So we have to look inwards and produce more.
“The zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity, we identified 22 sectors where we can earn foreign exchange apart from oil. We are hoping that in the next 10-15 years we will be able to raise $150 billion from sources outside oil.
“That is what we are working on and we are galvanizing the whole states behind us in other to raise production and productivity. We are working with the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to achieve this. You know the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN just announced an initiative on five of our products and giving them low interest rates to farm and raise production.”
He also spoke about The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which President Muhammadu Buhari signed at the 12th extraordinary session of the assembly of the union on AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Nigeria is the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is the biggest in the world. We didn’t want to be a dumping ground, that was why Mr. President refused signing the agreement until now. We must be competitive, we must produce more, and we must help our manufacturers get into this market,” he said.
Awolowo said he presented to Buhari, some tomatoes and “Bell peppers” being from Benin, and Casanovas, cassava chips from a cottage industry producing in Idu Industrial Estate, Abuja.
He said the chips are being exported to Germany.
He said he briefed the president on the zero oil implementation plan after he was asked for an update.
“Cocoa is an immediate win for us because, its been our number one none oil revenue making. But we are on less than 300,000 metric tons, Ghana is heading to 900,000, Cote d’ Ivoire almost two million metric,” he said.
“So, how do we compete? Meanwhile if you see the landmass in Nigeria you can imagine what we can do. Another sector is Shea nut, cashew is another breadwinner for us, so let’s raise production, let’s give our farmers, plantations low interest loan so that they can raise production for us. We are also looking at value addition for all because that is the way you create jobs, we cannot continue to sell the raw materials.”