Stakeholders in the non-oil sector will gather in Fraser Suites, Abuja on the 23rd of March for the flagship event, the Annual Non-oil Export Conference, Exhibition and Awards (NECEA) themed “Rebuilding Nigeria’s Economy through Non-oil Exports: A Strategic Imperative” The event convened by the Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN) is expected to bring together critical stakeholders in the non-oil sector including top officials of government and regulatory agencies, civil society groups, private sector organisations, the media and academia to dialogue on how to refocus the country’s non-oil sector, for a more effective participation in global trade, especially within the framework of the recently operationalized African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
According to Aisha Abubakar, the former Minister of State, Trade & Investment and Co-chair, NPNEN Board of Trustees, “Since its launch in March 2020, NPNEN has lived up to its mandate as the hub for integrating the various stakeholders and key players in the non-oil sector for collective prosperity. The NECEA event which seeks to beam the spotlight on the alternative to oil as the mainstay of the economy could not have come at a better time. We are all excited about this event and hope that the conversations chart a way forward for more strategic collaborations between the private sector and the public sector in rebuilding the Nigerian economy through non-oil exports.
Given the current state of Nigeria’s economy as evident in the downward spiraling of the naira, there is certainly a need to revitalize the economy primarily through non-oil exports. NECEA provides a good medium to beam the spotlight on the alternative to oil as a mainstay of the economy.
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According to NPNEN President, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu, “the network is on a journey to becoming the indisputable voice of the Nigerian non-oil exporter. It has made gains in advocating for issues that affect the average Nigerian exporter and has increasingly gained recognition among government Ministries, Departments and Regulatory Agencies. It is our hope that through NECEA 2021, our policy makers and facilitators will renew their commitments to pursue reforms that will rebuild the Nigerian economy, ensure its survival and growth to enable Nigeria to fully exploit the market opportunities in the AfCFTA scheme and beyond”.
Olufemi Boyede, Secretary of NPNEN in his statement noted that need for a consultation approach to policy formulation. According to him “Nigeria cannot be an exception, this is why NPNEN will be using this year’s edition to articulate the position of Nigeria’s practicing exporters vis-a-vis the current challenges limiting the performance of the sector and proffering solutions that are based on real time experience.
The top performers in world trade, such as Australia and the USA have been using the Annual Export Awards as a tool to instigate healthy competition and higher all-round improvement of their nation’s exports and exporters. Some have even elevated the awards to a Presidential status. It is our hope that winners will be proud to use the honor to shore up their brand acceptance internationally, while other exporters will strive to earn the awards in future, he stated.
NECEA 2021 is a gathering of all the relevant export support institutions and the players along Nigeria’s non-oil export value chain. It is a must-attend.
According to Mrs Titilope Ojo, the Executive Secretary of the Network, “the NPNEN conference will be a unique opportunity to get stakeholders into a room to discuss ways to improve the economy through non-oil exports, improve competitiveness of Nigerian exporters in International markets and propose realistic strategies. This conference has come at a time when Nigeria needs to position itself strategically to benefit from the AfCFTA”. There is no better time to have these conversations than now. I invite all stakeholders in the non-oil value chain to participate in this conference. It is time for our voices to be heard even louder. I look forward to fruitful deliberations, she further