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Reps ask NEPC to target 35% non-oil exports

Reps ask NEPC to target 35% non-oil exportsThe House of Representatives has asked the management of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to redouble its efforts toward improving non-oil revenue.

Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Mr Femi Fakeye, gave the charge in Abuja on Monday during an interactive session with the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, and other members of management team during an oversight function to the council.

Fakeye stated the need for the council to attain minimum of 35 per cent of non-oil export ratio in no longer distance.

He said, “The most important thing for us to realise is that this country needs this effort that your organisation is saddled with; that is to push for non-oil export.

“Apart from the existing fact that we all know; the country is still dependent much on crude oil sales.

“As we speak right now, even the benchmark of $55 per barrel that we have in the budget is dangling. The price changes every day and as we speak, I think it is even below that threshold.”

“We should be doing about 35 per cent minimum non-oil export. I don’t think we are anywhere close to that.”

Awolowo, in his remarks, sought the intervention of the National Assembly on the full implementation of the 10 per cent freight collections by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, being the only statutory source of fund for the council.

The NEPC boss decried that since December 1992, it had never been implemented despite the positive directives by the president, Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Assembly.

Awolowo stated the council’s resolve towards resolving issues bothering on the outstanding payment of Export Expansion Grant and disclosed that over N50bn worth of EEG was disbursed annually to exporters.

He added that there was a need to enforce payment of three per cent of the value of every EEG payable to a beneficiary as a source of revenue to the NEPC to offset the cost of administering the grant.

According to him, efforts are underway to increase Nigeria’s cocoa export, which currently stands at 300,000 metric tonnes of $2bn out of the $80bn revenue being generated by European countries where cocoa is being exported to. He noted that it would raise revenue of 22 non-oil products that could generate up to $30bn yearly.

Awolowo added that Nigeria could also take advantage of the $150bn petrochemical global markets by selling its abundance petrochemical products as well as $31bn palm oil market, where countries like Malaysia and Indonesia leverage on.

He also announced that the NEPC planned to increase Nigeria’s revenue by extra $150bn through the exportation of palm oil.

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