The Federal Government says its target is to add at least $150 billion to the nation’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years
Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja, at a press conference on Nigerian Industrialisation Summit and Expo scheduled for next month.
He said the summit is one of the activities meant to create food security and diversify the Nigerian economy which he said aligns with the present administration’s drive on economic diversification, job creation and enhanced agro value chains with the ultimate objective of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Agba said the Federal Government, in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), is setting up Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to drive the industrialisation of the country.
According to the minister who was represented by his Special Adviser, Sam Ekweme, the SAPZs will not only promote industrialisation, but will also lift at least 10 million Nigerians out of poverty and empower each state and its people by integrating them into the export value chain.
“These initiatives would unlock the potential of each state in the development and promotion of at least one crop for export,” the minister said.
He said the SAPZs programme, which is centred on commercial agri-business, will attract foreign direct investment for infrastructure development such as rail transformation to evacuate bulk raw materials from farms.
The minister assured that the government will continue to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Also, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation, to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said there is no country that has made progress in the living standards of its people without industrialisation.
He said Nigeria’s export profile is very low compared to that of a country like Vietnam which last year exported goods worth $384 billion while that of Nigeria was just $35 billion. He said Nigeria should move away from the short-term dependence on easy money making to hard work.
According to him, “Manufacturing, industrialisation is hard work. It is the process of industrialization that makes countries rich.”
He said that was the reason the AfDB is supporting the effort of the federal government because industrialisation of Africa is a major agenda of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and his team at the AfDB.
He informed that the SAPZs in eight pilot states of Kano, Kaduna, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, Imo, Cross River and the FCT will take off this year.
He promised that the project, targeted at developing the rural areas, will be private sector driven to ensure sustainability.