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​P​HCCIMA Is A Dynamic Chamber That Will Help Drive Our Zero Oil Plan—NEPC Boss, Awolowo

By Anderson Hart
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The Executive Director/CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo has described the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce as the most dynamic and result oriented chamber of commerce in the country that will help NEPC drive its zero oil plan project to ensure increase in productive capacity, boost productivity and stimulation of the export revolution strategy in the country. According to him, PHCCIMA is top spot in terms of innovation, value to its membership and contribution to national economic development.

Awolowo who made this assertion when he led a delegation of NEPC officials to PHCCIMA office in Port Harcourt, said he was impressed with PHCCIMA achievements and lauded the various activities of the present PHCCIMA administration headed by the president, Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji, especially in the area of diversification of businesses, export promotion and her import substitution efforts.

The NEPC boss explained that the visit to PHCCIMA was premised on the need to present the NEPC Zero Oil Plan to PHCCIMA members including the business community in Rivers state, stressing that the zero oil plan will drive diversification efforts and stimulate the export revolution strategy of the federal government for economic sustainability.

“During the oil boom, diversification to Nigerians was more of a passerby, but now following the crunchy economic situation resulting from the global shortfalls in oil prices diversification is firmly seated with us in our houses and we must grapple with it. As a federal agency with the objective of stimulating non oil exports, we have drafted 13 products that will replace oil including cashew, Palm oil etc” he said, so as to pursue an export based economy and key in to President Buhari’s charge that “Nigerians must begin to act now as if we don’t have oil so as to surmount our economic problems”.

According to him,” in actual fact Nigeria does not have oil problems; the real problem is that as a country we don’t export, we need to start exporting to earn foreign exchange, similarly the private sector must begin to influence how public money is spent to ensure we do things right.

He explained that many countries have had to face similar economic fate but survived, expressing optimism that there are infinite possibilities if we take advantage of the opportunities in agriculture, trade, services among others. “As a country we need to start thinking big. We need to pursue a bold export based strategy, and most importantly we must strive to achieve a zero oil strategy by increasing productive capacity and increasing productivity.

While responding to questions at the interactive session the NEPC boss assured PHCCIMA members and other participants of the potency of the zero oil plan, outlining six key thrust for financial incentives as * Export Trade Finance, export expansion grant, Export development fund and international business growth incentives. Others are SME export finance and Special purpose entity for transformational export project.

In his brief remark the PHCCIMA President, Dr Emi Membere Otaji said his chamber will support the NEPC zero oil initiative. He gave assurances that Nigeria will surmount the turbulence times. “We must intensify our diversification campaign with emphasis on sectoral shift to Agriculture, solid minerals, trade and services. On the part of the Federal Government they must demonstrate the political will needed to frontally and effectively address challenges confronting this country and this is achievable through Agriculture.

Nigeria with massive stretch of arable land, educated people, a bustling population, natural waterways and long coastal lines will surely survive this perios”. Another measure to achieve zero oil plan will be to embrace import substitution and support export promotion through removal of impediments to export and expansion of non oil exports” he said.