The Federal Government of Nigeria expects additional $150bn to the foreign reserves through the implementation of the Zero-oil Plan.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said the Federal Government is expecting additional $150bn to the foreign reserves in the next 10 years.  He made this statement at the opening session of a stakeholders’ engagement for the implementation of the Youth Export Development Program on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Mr. Awolowo, the commission had identified 22 priority countries as markets for Nigerian products while 11 strategic products with high financial value were expected to replace oil. He listed the products as palm oil, cashew, cocoa, soya beans, rubber, rice, petrochemical, leather, ginger, cotton and shea butter.

Speaking further at the event, the Executive Director of NEPC said: “Over the last five decades, Nigeria had run a mono-product economy, entirely dependent, financed and operated on income generated from crude oil exports. During this period crude oil had served as the primary export revenue earner for Nigeria, accounting for over 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings and more than 65 per cent of the Federal Government’s budget funding.” Such reliance had left the economy vulnerable to an extremely price volatile commodity, he noted.

According to him, the country witnessed the volatility with the crash in international crude oil prices between 2015 and 2016, which led to a reduction in the nation’s oil revenue from $70bn in 2014, to less than $40bn in 2015.

The NEPC boss is also of the opinion that the said the Zero-oil Plan would create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually, due to an increase in productive and export activities. Mr. Awolowo, who was represented by the Director, Product Development, NEPC, Mr William Ezeagu, said the plan would lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty. He described the youth program as NEPC’s small contribution to promoting a brighter future for the youth.