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By Awa Nnenna, Abuja
Non-oil export in the country has hit 40 per cent as the nation experienced substantial increase in her non-oil export within the first six months of this year.

The Director, Special Services of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Olajide Ibrahim told Vanguard in Abuja last weekend.

Ibrahim believed that the non-oil export was dangling between two and three per cent in 2005 and moved up to 35 per cent between 2001 and 2010 whilst it has hit 40 per cent in the first half of this year with optimism that it would further increase to 50 per cent before the end of the year.

He regretted that an average Nigerian exporter is short by 40% of his revenue when compared to his competitors outside the country because of poor infrastructure and that the NEPC-Koinonia collaboration was in synergy with NAFDAC, the Customs Service and other regulatory agencies.

He also said that a major component of the conference was the Presidential Export Awards, which was incorporated to support highly performing companies and encourage upcoming ones to work judiciously in order to boost the economy without having to rely on oil wealth alone.

'The award is not a social award; it is performance recognition as a tool that has been used by countries that are at the top ten of the world's economy. The company which gets the best exporter award will be a challenge to other companies in the sector.

Every awardee has a citation for performance, value added to product, volume of foreign exchange that has been brought into the economy and contributions of such companies to Nigerian export activities.'

The Managing Director of Koinonia Ventures Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Olufemi Boyede who is the convener of the three-day conference stated that the conference that has been designed to feature flourishing foreign companies across the globe has been organised to teach its participants about the products currently being exported and those with high export potential.

Boyede added: 'NNECEA 2011 is not a talk show and that is the reason why the conference is not on the classroom presentation format. The format adopted is actually an interactive forum approach.

'It is focusing on a road map to get it right with non-oil export. Participants will learn about the products currently being exported and those with high export potential. They will learn about the markets that are currently receiving these products and are being developed to receive Nigerian products in general.'

He also re-iterated that the conference was organised with the aim of expanding the country's revenue base by focusing more on non-oil products, in order to downplay her dependence on crude oil as he stressed:

'We are all aware that for the past 13 years, on an annual basis, Abuja hosts the Nigerian oil and gas and this focuses only on the oil sector. If we are saying that Nigeria's non-oil sector has the capacity to overtake oil as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, then we also need a vehicle to generate on an annual basis a road map to actualise that vision.