Through the implementation of the zero-oil plan, which comprises of non-oil commodities, the Federal Government (FG) has disclosed that it is targeting additional $150 billion to the foreign reserves in the next 10 years.
The disclosure was made by the Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo.
While speaking at the opening session of a stakeholders’ engagement for the implementation of the Youth Export Development Programme, Awolowo said that through the zero-oil plan, 22 priority countries had been identified as markets for Nigerian products while 11 strategic products with high financial value were expected to replace oil.
The 11 products include palm oil, cashew, cocoa, soya beans, rubber, rice, petrochemical, leather, ginger, cotton and shea butter.
Awolowo, who was represented by the Director of Product Development, NEPC, William Ezeagu stressed that Nigeria had been entirely dependent on income generated from crude oil exports for the past five decades and so it was running a mono-product economy.
He added that crude oil had served as the primary export revenue earner for Nigeria, accounting for over 90% of foreign exchange earnings and more than 65% of the Federal Government’s budget funding.
According to him, the total dependence of Nigeria on crude oil has left the economy vulnerable to an extremely price volatile commodity. He said the country witnessed the volatility with the crash in international crude oil prices between 2015 and 2016 which led to a reduction in the nation’s oil revenue from $70bn in 2014, to less than $40bn in 2015.
Why this matters: With the introduction of the zero-oil plan, there would be massive job creation if utilised well. Awolowo said that at least 500,000 additional jobs would be provided annually, due to an increase in production and export activities. This he said would help in lifting about 20 million Nigerians out of poverty.
What you should know: The Zero-Oil Plan was introduced in October 2016 by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) during the all-time low oil price slump. It was basically an effort to mobilise public and private resources towards boosting the country’s meagre non-oil exports.