‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
A non governmental organization, Organization of Youths in International Trade and Commerce, OY-ITC has facilitated a workshop for National Youth Corps, fresh graduates and small and medium enterprises on the untapped possibilities in the non-oil sector.
The president of OY-ITC, Chinedu Amadi while welcoming the participants to the workshop tagged: ‘Creation of Wealth from Non-oil Exports’ maintained that Nigeria’s reliance on oil almost brought her on its kneels during the global pandemic when their was zero demand for crude oil.
He further noted that the volatility in the oil market due to various factors has made the diversification into non-oil exports inevitable.
“We must leverage on the arrays of opportunities in the non-oil exports in cash crops, leather, services among others.
“You will meet entrepreneurs who are doing well and what they are doing is not rocket science. As graduates you should embrace the enormous opportunities available in non-oil exports.”
He charged Nigerian youths not to be mere observers but to participate actively. Among the benefits to participants range from guidance on company and product registration with government agencies such as CAC, NAFDAC; product packaging, sales and export opportunities.
The lead paper presented by the director, cooperate service department Dr Chuks Ngaha titled: “Local Raw Materials Sourcing, Development and Utilization. A basic economic development”; x-rayed the reasons for low non-oil export in Nigeria, top on the list were low sourcing of raw materials and high dependence on foreign imports in the production value chain.
He noted that efforts must be given to research and development to maximize the enormous potentials in non-oil exports. “If R&D is applied on the raw materials that we have in abundance in this country, the productivity of the industrial sector will improve by up to ninety percent and the attendant products from the value chain will increase considerably the revenue accruing to the country.”
He urged youths to leverage on the arrays of opportunities in the non-oil export sector to better their lots.
The president, national association of women entrepreneurs (NAWE), Barr Vera Ndanusa cited the huge contributions of women in non-oil exports and implored government to be deliberate in its intervention programmes to reflect the input of women.
“If women are empowered you have empowered the entire family and this will trickle down to the society and the country at large.
“Some government agencies such as SMEDAN, Federal ministry of industry, trade and investment have tried for women in terms of training but a whole lot still need to be done especially in improving the skills of women. Also the banks must increase their support for women by giving loans in single digit due to the peculiar challenges we have in Nigeria.”
Some of the entrepreneurs who displayed their products and services expressed mixed reactions on the non-oil sector.
The Guild of Automobile and Allied Technicians of Nigeria (GAATON), the umbrella body for mechanics in Nigeria, speaking through its spokesperson, Abdulrahman Musa bemoaned the lack of government support and pleaded with government at all levels to facilitate regular trainings, workshops and exposures to improve the skill set of their members as the automobile industry grows in the country.
The managing director of Agricchamix, makers of Shea butter, bitter kola and cocoyam flour called for more workshops and networking opportunities to open new vistas in the export business.
The high point of the event was the presentation of OY-ITC recognition awards to some deserving Nigerians in international trade and commerce.
The workshop which held at the Federal ministry of industry, trade and investment’s conference hall in Abuja, according to the vice president, Hajia Nafisat Nasir targeted about fifty corps members and SMES but had in attendance over a hundred participants.