The National Committee on Export Promotion Council (NCEP) headed by Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar said it has identified mainly six potential commodity products as alternative to oil and gas.

The recent National Economic Council (NEC) on export promotion chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, instituted the 13-man committee.

Addressing newsmen after its inaugural meeting in Abuja, the Governor said the committee has a Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) initiative to replace oil as the major source of foreign exchange earner by growing non-oil exports from the present $5 billion approximately to $30 billion by 2025.

He said the committee had identified cocoa, Arabic gum, sesame seeds, hides and skin, cashews, apricot and banana pointing out that NCEP had identified potential export market for the sesame seeds in Japan, Turkey and China stressing that Jigawa State was already collaborating with Walcott Group of Companies on the production of Sesame Seeds.

“We discussed very well and have hoped that eventually we will develop products and solid minerals that will have very high export value.  Exportation is a very big chain and we are committed to providing solution for the Nigerian export, “he said.

He added that NCEP would review the entire value chain process, including quality control, market, logistics and sales to ensure that the produce find buyers when eventually exported.

Under ZOP, the committee is to further add an extra $150 billion minimum to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years, create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually as well as lift 10 million Nigerians out of poverty.

On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who is also a member of the committee, attributed the recent rejection of some Nigerian yam export in the United States to mistakes by an exporter.

He said the container was in Nigeria for two months, before it left the country’s shores in a very hot environment.

He added that Ghanaian yam exports were also affected, adding that exporters should not warehouse perishable goods in bad conditions before shipping.

The members of NCEP include Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Minister of Power, Works and Housing and counterparts from Finance, Mines and Steel Development.

Others are CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, DG of NEPZA, Emmanuel Jime, Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr Abba Bello and Permanent Secretary of MBNP, Leon Aliboh.

The committee is expected to submit an interim report to government by November 16.

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