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Awolowo: Niger crucial partner in non-oil export target

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo, has said that Niger State is playing a significant role in the realisation of Federal Government’s plan of economic diversification from its traditional reliance on oil as the sustainer of the economy. He disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja when the Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, visited him with his entourage to key into the export expansion facility grant released by President Muhammadu Buhari and for other export related deliberations.

While commending Governor Bello for transforming the state, he submitted that the state was important not just because of its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but because it boasts of many products like sheanuts, soyabeans, ginger, cashew, rice and other products which form the basis of economic diversification of this administration.

Awolowo urged governors, which later included the Kwara State’s Abdul- Rahman AbdulRazaq to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for spending more and investing in the economy despite earning less from oil. He referred to the N350 billion released to pay exporters’ backlog through promissory notes and the recent release of N50 billion to the NEPC to cushion the effects of the pandemic on export businesses among others. The CEO also spoke about the plans to float an export trading company and national aggregation centers among other projects aimed at boosting export. On his part, Governor Bello stated that the government had failed to bring together local farmers and the people and that they are yet to feel the benefits of governments interventions because majority of them are still using old equipment and agricultural tools which affects their productivity.

He, however, added that his state was willing to key into the zero oil plan of the NEPC and sought support from the commission to support local farmers in his state, provide them with seedlings and modern equipment and design a way to be the offtaker of all their produce for exports and for local purchases too. The governor expressed optimism that with a strong, sustainable system and partnership with NEPC, the local farmers would compete internationally, boost export and increase the Gross Domestic Products of the state.

 

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