From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Facts have emerged that the Federal Government lost over $30 billion following a fall in Nigeria export within two years, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo, has said.
Awolowo who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja when a delegation of Japanese businessmen visited the council to discuss their desire to invest in the Nigerian economy, told the visitors, led by Mr. Yasuhiro Hashimoto, Head of Economic and Commercial Section, 1st Secretary and also leader of the delegation, that the Federal Government was desirous to welcome investors who would come to Nigeria to invest in manufacturing or and industrialisation, assemble some of the popular Japanese cars used in Nigeria instead of importing them into the country.
He informed the audience comprising investors and Nigerian government officials that Nigeria wants to achieve “zero oil” income and tow the line of countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran that are already leaving oil to invest in other sectors for exports to grow their economy.
The Executive Secretary who admitted that Japan is one of the biggest exporters in the world called on them to come to Nigeria and invest in chemical industries, which has so much bye-products that would benefit Nigeria or in agriculture, and mortgage sector, mining and several other sectors, stating that Nigeria is blessed in human and natural resources in all the 36 states of the country.
He lamented that the country has witnessed one of the sharpest falls in oil income in its history, saying the government has implemented a rigorous screening criteria to map out the most efficient ways of promoting non-oil export strategy.
Awolowo remarked that Nigeria lost over $30 billion to fall in its oil export from 2014 to 2015, which is two years. According to him, the country recorded $1.7 billion of non-oil export in 2014 while in 2015 it recorded $1.6 billion.
“We want investors in manufacturing able to manufacturer some motor parts here like leather that is used in car seats because plastic is a bye product of petrol. Investment in agriculture would also be useful as we have many agricultural products wasting away like fruits from Benue State and tomatoes in the northern part of the country, among others,” he said. The NEPC boss, who emphasised that the government wants to put a stop to export of raw materials, stated that Nigeria lost $30 billion from oil last year while it exported about $40 billion.
According to him, since the country lost revenue in oil export, “we want to fill the gap, though it might take up to three or four years in some circumstances to do so,” he said.
He explained that the Japanese delegation had come to explore which areas they would partner with Nigeria economically.