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Zero oil plan initiative capable of improving Nigeria’s foreign reserves, says NEPC boss


The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Olusegun Awolowo, has expressed optimism that the zero oil plan will improve Nigeria’s foreign reserve by $150 billion over the next decade, if successfully executed.

Awolowo made this known at the Policy Development Facility Phase II (PDF II), ‘Non-Oil Export Conference and Awards’, held in Lagos State.

He also revealed that the zero oil initiative was capable of creating at least 500,000 additional jobs annually, and removing no fewer than 20 million Nigerians from poverty, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to him, “Nigeria has run a mono-product economy for too long. We have been left vulnerable to oil price shocks, the latest of which we are seeing now with the outbreak of the Coronavirus,” he said.

According to him, in response to the 2016 economic recession, triggered by a crash in oil prices, NEPC developed the zero oil plan.

He explained that the plan is a strategy for boosting forex through the non-oil sector, preparing Nigeria for a world in which crude oil is less relevant, mainly through, rolling out export policies for 22 major products that could generate up to $30 billion in foreign exchange a year.

“The Zero Oil Plan will add an extra $150 billion minimum to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years.

“It will create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually, due to an increase in productive and export activities, helping to contribute to SDG 8, which is, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth.’

“Lastly, the zero oil Plan will lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty.”

Awolowo stressed that the federal government was committed to export diversification with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, integrating the zero oil plan as a core component of the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

He said the National Economic Council (NEC) has also constituted the National Committee on Export Promotion.

“This committee is chaired by the Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badam Abubakar, with some state governors and relevant MDAs as members drive the implementation of the zero oil plan.

“Over the last few years, we have seen improving non-oil export performance, albeit from a low starting point. Data from the International Trade Centre (lTC), Geneva, shows that non-oil exports of products have risen from $1.17 billion in 2016, to $3.16 billion in 2018.”


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