The Federal Government on Sunday hinted that the implementation of its ‘Zero Oil Plan’ has commenced in furtherance of its ongoing economic diversification agenda for the country.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, made this disclosure while speaking on the theme ‘Exploring the Diversification Agenda towards the Emergence of a Resilient Economy’ at the 42nd Annual Conference Dinner of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) held in Lagos.

According to him, the ‘Zero Oil Plan’ is a component of the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) introduced to reduce the nation’s over-dependence on crude oil as country’s main foreign exchange earner.

Udoma disclosed further that the National Committee on Export Promotion (NCEP) was collaborating with the state governments to establish domestic export warehouse and ‘aggregation centres’ in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

Similarly, the minister confirmed that the committee was also promoting Made-in-Nigeria for Export (MINE) project where the special economic zones would be used as the mechanism for making Nigeria the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in Sub-Saharan Africa and a major exporter of made-in-Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally.

According to him, in addition to the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC’s) approval, the MINE project has also secured early commitments from domestic and foreign investors in textile and garments and agro-processing.

Udoma explained that governmentwas also reactivating the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme and the Export Development Fund (EDF) scheme, with about N13.28 billion provided in this year’s budget.

He pointed out that in order to improve the nation’s investment environment the Federal Government had empowered the Presidential Enabling Business Committee (PEBEC) to do everything reasonable to achieve the goal.

The minister noted that the various initiatives were already impacting positively on the economy based on recent surveys by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) which showed improved investor confidence in the country.

It would be recalled that the NIPC had reported that in three quarters ended September 30 this year, interests for proposed investments valued at about $73.08 billion in 65 projects in 18 states and the Federal Capital territory (FCT) were expressed by potential investors.