HOW COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES CAN BOOST NATION’S ECONOMY THROUGH AGRICULURAL COMMODITIES EXPORT —AWOLOWO
Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has sensitised cooperative societies and other groups in Kwara state to embrace non-oil export promotion such as agriculture to boost the Nigerian economy.
The executive director of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, in a keynote address at a stakeholders’ forum on “Developing the Nigeria Agricultural Value Chain for Export through Effective Cooperative Society Formation and Management” in Ilorin, said that dependence on oil to boost the economy was no longer viable.
Awolowo, represented by the Regional Coordinator, North Central, Mr. Samson Oluwole Monehin, said that cooperative society is a veritable tool in propagating and increasing export trade.
“An endeavour which may be difficult to achieve by an individual is easily dispensed by a group of individuals in the spirit of cooperative society. Cooperative society, therefore, plays an increasingly important role worldwide in poverty reduction, facilitating job creation, access to credit, economic growth and social development,” he said.
Awolowo affirmed that the commission, in recognition of the role of cooperative societies in non-oil export promotion, would accept besides a limited liability company registration, the cooperative society registration for the issuance of exporter’s certificate which is qualification export in Nigeria.
He said the Federal Government preferred to disburse loan under cooperative/cluster arrangement than individuals, which can be seen from the success of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria in especially Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau, Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Cross River and Lagos States.
“Cooperative society provides the platform for which individuals with no strong financial standing could become valuable players in wealth creation activities in the nation.
“Smallholder farmers have the opportunity to aggregate their strength to benefit from economies of scale and significantly contribute to the nation’s economic development through their activities in areas of production, processing, manufacturing, marketing, etc,” he said.
Awolowo assured Kwara state of continued collaboration to develop the non-oil export in the state.
“In 2015, NEPC developed a game changer document tagged the Zero-oil plan. The initiative was developed as a strategy for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil sector, preparing Nigeria for an economy where it does not have to depend on a single drop of crude oil for survival. The Zero-oil plan has set a long term goal of earning 20% of Nigeria’s GDP (i.e. US $100 BILLION) from non-oil exports. The initial target, however, is to exceed US $30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years. If properly implemented, the plan will lead to the primary results:
(i) Add an extra US $150 billion (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next ten years
(ii) Create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually, due to an increase in productive and export activities, helping to contribute to sustainable development goal SDG8 – decent work and economic growth
(iii) Lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG1 – no poverty.”
Also speaking, the permanent secretary, Kwara state Ministry of Enterprise, Hajia Halimat Eletu, represented by the Director PFS in the Ministry, Hajia Kikelomo Saka said NEPC, which is the Federal government agency, solely in charge of the promotion of non-oil export in Nigeria, has been playing tremendous roles and alive to its responsibility since the establishment of its smart office in the state.
“It has organised several seminars, workshops and programmes in the state which is aimed at consolidating and boosting non-oil revenue earnings for government and moving Nigeria away from over dependence on oil revenue.
She thanked the NEPC for all its efforts towards diversification of Nigeria economy from oil to non-oil trade in the state and pledged the support of government in all ramifications so that together we can move the state forward”.