Non-oil sector is economy’s last line of defence –NEC

The National Economic Council (NEC) has identified the non-oil sector as the last line of defence for the Nigerian economy.

It says the sector has a potential of adding up to $150 billion to the country’s foreign reserves from non- oil exports over the next 10 years.

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, revealed this to State House Correspondents, while briefing them on the outcome of Thursday’s NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said the revelation was made by NEC’s committee on export promotion, which also revealed that the non-oil sector can generate about 500 million jobs annually.

Sule said: “The Governor of Jiagawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, presented an update on the activities of the Committee. The report is sequel to the Zero Oil Plan, envisioned in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is developed by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).  The plan details the Non-Oil export sector as the last line of defence for the Nigeria Economy.

“The implementation of the plan is expected to yield results in 3 key areas; add an extra UDS150 billion (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non- oil exports over the next 10 years; Create 500, 000 jobs annually, lift 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG-No Poverty.’’

According to the Governor, the non-oil export committee suggested the provision of processing equipment and conducted Capacity Building Programme on Strategic Products in the Zero Oil Plan.

“The products include Palm oil, Soya Beans and Ginger in Kaduna, Benue, Ondo, Edo and Imo States.

“The other achievements of the Zero Oil Plan to date includes: Non- oil exports (excluding natural gas) have risen from U$1.17 billion in 2016 to US$3.16 billion in 2018 meaning that Strategic sectors identified in the Zero Oil Plan have seen growth. For instance, cocoa exports have risen by $79.4 million since 2017, while sesame exports have also increased by $153 million since 2016 – an increase of more than 100%

“The plan has identified the creation of five million jobs to date directly supported by no-oil exports, with efforts underway to increase this by 500,000 new jobs annually in line with SDG 8 – “Decent work and Economic Growth,” he said.

Commenting on the recent attack on the convoy of the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, the Governor said contrary to reports, his Deputy’s convoy was not attacked, rather, he ran into a kidnappers/armed robbers’ road block.

He said: “Concerning the unfortunate incident; let me correct the impression. It is not that the convoy was attacked. What happened was, when the Deputy Governor was on his way to Abuja, they found a long queue of vehicles waiting so in trying to find out what happened, they discovered that an armed robbery attack was taking place so his pilot car decided to move on, to see what was going on and unfortunately the three policemen occupying the pilot car were overpowered by the bandits, numbering over 40 and we lost those gallant brave policemen. The Deputy Governor later drove back to Lafia, the State capital and nobody else was attacked.

“We have measure in places to forestall future occurrence of such. In the interim, we have a helicopter hovering around the area and we now have security men patrolling and about seven check points within and around the state capital and neighbouring areas like Nasarawa Eggon and Akwanga.”

The Governor said some of the hoodlums that committed the crime have been arrested and efforts are on to make more arrests.

He condoled with the families of the policemen that died, as he pledged the state government’s support for their families.