NEPC eyes $150bn export market with zero oil plan
The Executive Director, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, explained that so far the council has identified over 22 products that have the potential and capacity to generate the much needed foreign exchange for the economy, stressing that NEPC is also building capacities of the Nigerian fashion industry to take advantage of the $3 trillion global fashion industry.
Awolowo at a facility tour of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble’s facility in Lagos, said: “We are here to scale up what Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is doing. It is one of our biggest clothing brands in Nigeria. We are also here to promote our own national brand while also getting them into the international market.
“She is working on expanding her store for the local market and of course for the international market. We brought some experts to help her with that ranging from quality assurance and all the steps her factory needs, so that she can export seamlessly. We are here to encourage her while also helping her with the necessary certifications she needs where she can put up her brand internationally.”
He however noted that non-oil export is the future for Nigeria, maintaining that trading and relying on oil for 90 per cent of foreign exchange is the bane of the nation.
“We need to be able to produce to build brands like ‘ruff and tumble’ that we can take internationally, especially with the signing of the ACFTA, which is the largest free trading area in the world. Africa will be driving the world now in terms of trade. The advantages for Nigeria are many, but we must be competitive. We believe companies like Ruff ‘n’Tumble can perform to beat many other companies in Africa and compete in the world,” he added.
He said in every trade agreements, there are remedies governed by the WTO that prevents dumping, adding that for the first time in Nigeria, this was an agreement that carried every stakeholder from different sectors along.
“We see the advantages for Nigeria, Africa and we are certainly not afraid of it. The government is working on the infrastructure that is needed to make Nigerian products competitive and once all of that is done, the future is orange,” he assured.
Also speaking at the event, the founder, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenine Ogunlesi, said the visit was a landmark achievement for the company, saying that the partnership with NEPC would take her factory to the next level.
According to her, NEPC has a clear understanding of what the garment sector needs in Nigeria and are willing to put a lot of effort behind the sector to make sure that the garment industry achieves its potential of which it has.
“We have been encouraged by this visit because we know there has been a lot of discussion into this partnership with NEPC,” she added.
She said Nigerians must build the mental capacity to see the opportunities and equip themselves to meet the demands of people in the country.
“We are going further with NEPC; we are going into contract manufacturing which means that we will also be able to produce for other Nigerian designers who wants the quality and standards of what we are producing. So we are only just getting started,” she said.