As Nigerians continue to grapple with dwindling oil revenues, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has again reiterated the need for stakeholders to look inwards as a strategy to reposition the economy for sustainable development using the Zero Oil Plan (ZOP).
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo stated this in Abuja just as Senator Shehu Sani warned Nigerians and economic planners that the days of over-dependence on oil as a major source of revenue is over.
Speaking while receiving Sen. Sani at a Stakeholders briefing on non-oil sector, Mr. Awolowo disclosed that the ZOP identifies 22 priority countries as markets for Nigerian products as well as 11 strategic products with high financial value to replace oil.
These products, he said include Palm Oil, Cashew Cocoa, Soybeans, Rubber, Rice, Petro-chemical, Leather among others adding that to achieve this, Nigeria must scale-up domestic production to levels unprecedented and create competitive channels to move cargos and get goods into foreign markets.
Besides, Awolowo pointed out that the 36 states and FCT are also expected to play a leadership role by selecting at least one priority export product under the One-State-One Product (OSOP) programme.
In his remarks, Sen. Shehu Sani cautioned Nigerians not to live in the past with the believe that oil prices would rise and therefore guarantee a return to the days when oil was the main stay of our economy.
According to him “The days of depending on oil as a major revenue earner is over. Non-oil exports is the only path that would lead us to a sustainable economic development and guarantee a future for the yet unborn as oil is no more reliable”.
Sen. Sani who represents Kaduna Senatorial District was optimistic that if Mexico and United Arabs Emirates (UAE) could reposition their respective economies with non-oil and today the sector is a significant contributor to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) then Nigeria should be able to replicate such successes through the development and promotion of our local made goods among other agricultural produce.