The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) recently stated that recent developments in the global economy have made it clear why Nigeria must be dedicated to the exportation of its vast non-oil resources.
As a result of the global economic crisis, the Federal Government has put up a strategy for boosting foreign exchange through the non-oil export policies for 22 major products that could generate up to $30 billion in foreign exchange within a period of five years.
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak is passionate about the promotion of non-oil exports for Nigeria to meet its national and global economic demands. No doubt, Yakusak’s appointment as the CEO of NEPC has brought so much hope and rekindles the fact that if one is hardworking, they would be recognized. He served the past executives with all his heart, worked with them, and has been the legal adviser for over 15 years.
Yakusak worked with the board members, chairman of the board, and the chief executives. He is an honest, hardworking man, who today is being recognized, doing exploits at NEPC.
Olusegun Awolowo, the immediate past CEO of the Council, had huge compliments to pay to his successor recently. When it was noted that NEPC under him had done so much good work, and he was asked what system was in place to ensure that these good works continue, he said: “There is a strategy that is owned by the management. We’ve done our retreats; we have a strategic document we’re working with and it was prepared by the staff themselves. Now, the luck we have in NEPC is that the government has already announced a successor who is a director here.”
Nairametrics reported last month that Nigeria exported merchandise worth N7.1 trillion in the first quarter of 2022, rising by 23.13% compared to N5.77 trillion recorded in the previous quarter; 137.88% higher than the N2.98 trillion recorded in the corresponding period of 2022.
The council under Yakuzak’s stewardship has already developed its zero oil plan in response to the recession of 2016 following the crash in crude oil prices, citing that the scheme focuses on non-oil export policies for 22 major products that could generate up to $30 billion in foreign exchange within a period of five years. The 22 products include: cotton, petrochemicals, fertilizers, palm oil, rubber, cement, tomatoes, banana. Others are oranges, cashew, cassava, sesame, spices, ginger, shea butter and cowpea.
Quite unfortunately Nigeria, having been blessed with resources in agriculture, solid minerals, entertainment industry, creative arts, Information and Communication Technology, fashion and manufacturing has continued to rely on the export of crude oil as the major source of foreign exchange.
Ezra Yakusak should be commended for sticking out his neck for the promotion of non-oil products Nigeria is abundantly blessed with. Like the biblical Ezra, a religious leader of the Jews who reconstituted the Jewish community on the basis of the Torah (Law, or the regulations of the first five books of the Old Testament), Mr. Ezra Yakusak is making unrelenting efforts at reconstitution Nigeria’s export sector.
The Council recently launched the ‘Export 4 Survival’ campaign which is aimed at sensitising Nigerians from all walks of life to embrace non-oil export as a viable option for our economic growth and survival. From reliable feelers, the campaign is already making an impact as the council with its activities is now in the limelight nationwide.
A cognitive look at the various efforts of Ezra and his team clearly demonstrates NEPC’s readiness to equip Nigerians and the outside world with the required knowledge for successful export business and how to curtail the rejection of non-oil exports from Nigeria.
Nigeria exported petroleum oil and oils obtained from bituminous minerals in crude form worth N5.62 trillion in Q1 2022. This represents about 79.16% of the country’s total exports in the period under review.
Nigeria exported N655.94 billion worth of natural gas in Q1 2022, a 14% increase compared to N573.85 billion recorded in Q4 2021, and accounting for 9.24% of the total exports.
Nigeria’s urea export increased marginally in Q1 2022 to N208.39 billion from N208.05 billion recorded in the previous quarter. The export of urea, whether in aqueous solution or not, accounted for 2.93% of the country’s total export in the period under review.
As at August 24, 2022, NEPC revealed that Nigeria exported more than 4.146 million metric tonnes of non-oil products, worth $2.593 billion from January to June 2022.
The achievement lays credence to the country’s efforts at reducing its over-dependence on the oil sector for foreign exchange earnings and boosting export volume from the non-oil sector.
Yakusak said that this figure represents a 62.37% increase when compared to the $1.59 billion that was achieved in the first half year in 2021 and 2020 which stood at $981.442 million, respectively.
Yakusak said, “In spite of the global economic recession that affected most businesses in 2021, the sector recorded a significant growth in non-oil exports.
A total of 4,146,534 metric tonnes of product worth $2.593 billion were exported between January and June 2022.
These figures were culled from the non-oil export performance reports of various pre-shipment inspection agents who are appointed by the Federal Government to determine the volume, value and destination of Nigerian non-oil export. The analysis from returns of these pre-shipment inspection agents indicates that the January-June 2022 export performance was the highest half year non-oil export performance since 2018.
Nigeria is gradually shifting to exports of semi-processed/manufactured goods as against what was applicable in the past, where the trend of products exported from Nigeria is usually traditional agricultural.
In May 2022, he was re-elected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra, Ghana. Dr. Yakusak is to serve another one-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries to drive trade within the sub-region.
The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation is a network of all Trade Promotion Organisations in West Africa established by the decisions of the Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.
Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr Ezra became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.
Indeed, Dr. Yakusak is well prepared for the responsibilities entrusted to him. His work with NEPC over three decades has exposed him to various capacity building programmes and geared him up for the NEPC job. Kudos to a man of vision.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper