Efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the non-oil export sector got a boost yesterday as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) agreed to deepen their collaboration to promote trade and investments in the sector.
The partnership is sequel to the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both agencies of government. The event was held in the conference room of NIPC Head office, Abuja.
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo while commending the Executive Secretary of NIPC for the initiative noted that the partnership would provide a platform for synergy with other relevant stakeholders in the sector.
The platform will proffer strategies for diversifying the nation’s productive base from oil to non-oil particularly in the wake of dwindling revenues from the former.
Awolowo stressed that there was need to direct the FDIs to the manufacturing sectors as it is the only way to create wealth and employment adding that the Council was working on a tripartite agreement between the Council, NIPC and Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) that would stimulate investments and industrial production clusters for export.
“All these partnerships are targeted at easing the process of export as well as attracting investments in the sector. Now more than ever, it is critical for both agencies to fast track the diversification of the economy in line with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan” , he added.
The NIRP, he said identifies 13 National Strategic Export Products (NESPs) that will replace oil while it will be supported by two key NEPC initiatives – the One State One Product (OSOP) and Nigerian Diaspora Export Programme (NDEX).
The NESPs are grouped under three categories:
- Agro Industrial – Palm Oil, Cocoa, Sugar, Rice and Cashew
- Mining related – Cement, Iron ore/metals, Auto parts/cars, Aluminum
- Oil and gas industrial products – Petroleum products, Fertilizer/Urea, Petrochemical and Menthol
Awolowo pointed out that the aim of OSOP is to identify and develop in each State of the Federation, one non-oil product across its value-chain for export adding that the initiative takes cognizance of the country’s comparative advantage in terms of the vastness of its natural endowments.
On NDEX, he disclosed that the project had two components – the Nigerian Heritage City and the Nigerian Cuisine beyond Borders. According to him “this programme is to leverage on the large population of Nigerians in Diaspora as a means of introducing the best of Nigeria to their host countries and communities just like China Town in USA.”
Awolowo lamented that the challenges before our exporters and competitiveness of exportable products in the international market are issues of poor quality, standards, high cost of doing business as a result of inadequate infrastructure, technical expertise among others.
In her remarks, the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Mrs. Saratu Umar, said that for Nigeria to remain the highest recipient of FDI in Africa pulling 10 per cent of the total FDIs in the continent there is need for the Commission to form partnership with other relevant agencies and stakeholders to drive investments in the non-oil sector.
The Executive Secretary maintained that the strategic partnership with NEPC was aimed at expanding the frontiers
of cooperation to enhance the promotion of non-oil exports on one hand and encouragement of investments on the other.
She hoped that with the collaborative involvement of the two game changers (NIPC and NEPC) the Nigerian investment ecosystem will be rightly packaged for improved results from the sector.