NEPC boss advocates for more investment in Agriculture

By Gabriel Elozino, Asaba

The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Dr Ezra Yakusak has advocated for more investment in the agricultural sector to boost exportation in the country.

He disclosed that the Council has initiated various programmes and projects to stimulate the non-oil export sector of the economy.

Yakusak spoke at the interactive meeting between members of the State Committee on Export Promotion (SCEP) and stakeholders on the implementation of One-State One-Product (OSOP), held at Asaba, Delta state.

Represented at the event by the Assistant Director, NEPC, Olu Ikulajolu, Yakusak said, “Before the discovery of oil at Oloibiri in 1957, agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, contributing about 65% to the total GDP of the Country. Regrettably, however, the sector was relegated to the background currently contributing less than 25% to the GDP.

“Our vision is to make the world a marketplace for Nigerian non-oil goods and services, while our mission is to spearhead the diversification of the Nigerian economy by expanding and increasing non-oil exports for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

“In over four decades, we have made significant progress on this core mandate, culminating in the varieties of quality Nigerian Products in the global market.

“In recent times, we have scaled up efforts to mobilize citizens to engage meaningfully in the non-oil export sector which is the nation’s next line of defence. We shall continue to strengthen our partnership with relevant institutions, groups and individuals to increase the non-oil export performance of Nigeria as a whole and Delta State

“The State Committee on Export Promotion (SCEP) was established by the NEPC Act as a veritable tool to propagate non-oil export activities at the grassroots. As you may know, the Committee is domiciled in the Ministry of Commerce/Trade and Investment of each State, with relevant stakeholders as members.”

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Also speaking the Chairman, Delta State Committee on Export Promotion and Permanent Secretary, Delta State Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mrs Antonia Ugbogu called for more investment in cassava and palm production.

According to her, there are great export opportunities in palm and cassava produce that are capable of boosting Nigeria’s economic growth and recovery.

In his welcome address, the Trade Advisor, NEPC, Export Assistance Office, Mr Peter Onokpasa said, the concept of one state one product was an NEPC initiative to encourage every state of the federation to harness and produce at least a product, it has a comparative advantage in producing for export.

He added that the initiative is expected to be coordinated and implemented by the State Committee on export promotion and other stakeholders in every state of the federation.

Executive Director of NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak

He said, “The State Committee has over the past years worked hard to identify two primary products (Palm oil and Cassava and two secondary products (Rubber and Seafood) as products stakeholders in the State has a comparative advantage in producing in large scale for local consumption and export.

“The value chain for these products needs to be fully harnessed in order to create wealth and employment for Deltans.”

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