By Henry Uche
SINCE the launch of One- state -one- product (OSOP) in 2016, by the federal government through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as part of its efforts to boost export and diversify the economy, industry watchers have been worried about the success or otherwise of the program as over 80 million Nigerians still wallow in abject poverty -unfortunately.
The mandate of the program is that, every state in the federation must get at least one product ready for export; such product must have satisfied local need and have the potential to generate income, create employment and boost wealth for the state.
Four years down the line, a look at every state in the country revealed that not a few states are still struggling to come up with product; while state like Benue is on the move to export Yam tubers to other continents. At this critical period when unemployment rate is above 27.1 per cent, inflation rate is above 12. 5 percent, while the gravity of poverty remains excruciating, it becomes exigent for every state to rise and rescue the country from looming economic collapse.
In a recent workshop organized by Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Council reminded Nigeria that the era of oil dependency is over. As it unveiled its zero oil plan for non-oil commodities export, the plan was laid bare following the economic recession Nigeria experienced in 2016 and the crash of oil at the international market- to prepare Nigeria for a world where oil is becoming less relevant. The NEPC plan incorporated in the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the FG was geared to generate up to $30bn foreign exchange yearly through cocoa, cashew, petrochemicals, cotton, cowpea and other non- oil products.
While non-oil export rose from $1.17bnon 2016 to $3.16bnin 2018 according to (international Trade Centre), more is expected from the non -oil sector since the projected earnings under the OSOP initiative was $36bn over the next 10 years, every state has been alerted to speed up its proposed and alternative product(s). Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo and Bayelsa has proposed; sea foods, Palm oil, Cocoa, Palm oil, Cassava and Sea foods products for export respectively.
In line with its slogan, “Export business…Tomorrow’s business”, NEPC said it is optimistic that the vision of OSOP would not die provided the government and every other stakeholders both in the private and public domain do their bids. Such harmony and unity of purpose according to him is critical to see this vision through. The country needs more food now than ever to live while other necessities follow suit.
In a telephone interview, the South West coordinator for NEPC, Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, said, so many government agencies are required to play their roles to see this vision fruitful. “The Nigeria Customs Service, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National and states Chambers of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Association of Small Scale industrialists, National Quarantine Services and others are instrumental to this vision and must work hand in glove with the National committee on export Promotion (NCEP), domicile in the ministry of commerce in every state.
“Some states have done something while others are yet organizing themselves. For instance, Benue state is doing significantly in yam export, I believe other states have come up with a product, what is required now is action plan to drive the processes. NEPC supports each state where necessary, when production is going, get aggregator, release them to the export market to enable them access the world market for their products, so we are part of the process, both in certification, Logistics; it is the readiness of the state that matters. As the international flights resume fully and boarder opens, we hope export will take off,” he maintained.
Nigerians must not remain in abject poverty in the mist of abundant natural resources. NEPC has reassured the country of not leaving any stone unturned to make sure the citizens get enough to eat and export, but all hands must be on deck to extricate Nigeria from the shackles of resource curse.