Nigeria now earns more from non-oil exports, Osinbajo reveals
FG Pledges More Reforms
The Federal Government has declared that it would continue to support Nigerian exporters through its various agencies by bringing about necessary reforms to boost the growth of the country’s non-oil exports.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who gave the assurance, also urged exporters to take advantage of opportunities for growth in the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This is even as Osinbajo also disclosed that the majority of the revenue flowing into the nation’s treasury was being generated from non-oil exports.
According to him, the Federal Government had worked assiduously to ensure that the country achieved economic diversification.
Speaking during the 51st annual international conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) in Lagos, Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, noted that Nigeria must not be caught napping as crude oil and gas are no longer the major fuel that drives global economies.
According to him, more technologically advanced nations of the world have switched to clean and renewable energy.
He further highlighted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was preparing Nigeria to not only meet challenges posed by the changing world but also to help Nigeria occupy her rightful place among the comity of nations.
He said: “Many countries in different continents are now preparing themselves to depend less on fossil fuels. Electric cars are found on roads and streets of many of the technologically developed countries of the world.
“This has sent a clear signal and a strong message that fossil fuels will not be as important as they are in the years to come. Our nation must prepare for a future where crude oil, which has for long been our major source of revenue will no longer occupy its prominent position in the economies of many nations.”
Osinbajo had disclosed the improved earnings from non-oil exports last Wednesday when he received a delegation of major agro-exporters in the country at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The delegation was in the State House with the CEO/Executive Director of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, who formally developed a Zero-Oil Plan designed to move Nigeria away from being an oil-dependent economy.
Highlighting the approval of the National Development Plan by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Vice President stated that, “one of the major components of that Plan is that we are trying to move away as much as possible from our dependence on oil and gas proceeds as our major sources of foreign exchange. You have seen a trend towards that in revenue figures.”
He further said: “We believe attention needs to be paid to exports generally. Of all the various plans that we have, one of the critical things for us now is that we all know that we are moving away very quickly from oil.”
Noting that Nigeria is a principal player in the AfCFTA agreement, the Vice President stated that Nigerian exporters and businesses could be major beneficiaries of the agreement.
“For us economically, beginning now, we cannot afford to have a situation where for any reason at all, an area of competitive advantage for us which is agro-export suffers in any way on account of something we can help. Anything we can do, there shouldn’t be a cause for any kind of hindrance to agro-export,” he said.
On support for agro-exports, Osinbajo stated that government agencies would continue to explore measures to boost exports and improve the economy generally, even as he noted that “agro exporters here are the end-users of the services of government.”
He further noted that, “most of the government agencies here have already worked with us in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) (which the VP chairs). As members of PEBEC, we already know what government’s intentions and desires are and we are not averse to criticisms or comments coming from the end-users of government services.
“We should be able to have a robust, free and frank conversation so that we can take steps to remedy whatever needs to be remedied so that we can achieve something for our country and people.”
In his remarks, the Executive Director of NEPC, Awolowo, commended the Federal Government for its efforts and for giving credence to non-oil exports in the National Development Plan.
He noted that the country could no longer rely on oil as its major foreign exchange earner.
“This meeting is crucial and the exporters are delighted that we have raised it to this level. This shows the government is listening and ready to answer us,” he stated.