NEPC to scaleup service sector contributions to GDP
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NEPC to scaleup service sector contributions to GDP


    The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has unveiled plans to boost operations of the service sector, noting that this move was to bolster the services sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria.

    The Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Segun Awolowo, said the sector contributed about 60 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after the rebasing of the economy in 2013.

    Awolowo, added that trade in services is emerging as an important driver of economic growth globally, pointing out that it is believed that trade in services contribute up to 65 per cent and above of the developed countries’ GDP and also has the potential to grow any economy by providing employment opportunities, create wealth and generate foreign exchange for the government.

    The NEPC boss who was represented by the Deputy Director, Product Development, NEPC, Samuel Oyeyipo, during a stakeholders/advocacy meeting for mainstreaming services trade in the national economy in Lagos, said the impacts of harnessing full benefits of services sector will go a long way to reduce the nation’s dependence on traditional markets, provide a more diversified market, bring about new knowledge, experience and enhanced domestic competitiveness.

    He however stated that Nigeria recorded about $1.6 billion in 2015 from non-oil proceeds, expressing concerns over the volume of trade in the non-oil sector.

    “The figure was a bit higher in 2014. There are so many factors responsible for the decline, the exporters complained of not having access to foreign exchange and it all affected activities in the non-oil sector, but we believe that with the present administration, the problem is being addressed,” he said.

    According to him, a virile services sector will also expand horizons, create new ideas, new approaches and new market techniques drawn from exposure to the global market place.

    He said according to ITC, by 2050, 80 per cent of the world population will be in the services sector while revealing that there are plans to scale up the 60 per cent contribution the sector contributed to the Nigerian economy three years ago.

    He added that the agency has embarked on various initiatives at growing the sector in Nigeria such as, creating the service unit domiciled in the product development department in order to position the council in the forefront of developing and harnessing benefits of the Nigerian services sector.

    He noted that the council also developed a strategy for the export of professional services from Nigeria through the assistance of the commonwealth secretariat in 2009, maintaining that the services sector strategy is broken down into three pillars which involves capacity building for stakeholders in the sector, formulation of policies to drive the activities of the sector and the management of knowledge in terms of statistics for data collection.

    “We have discovered that most of the services that are taken place especially in Nigeria are just happening without much data on records in the sector. We have them scattered all around and we are trying to bring them together so that we can have a reporting module to have statistics of what is happening in the sector,” he said.

    He said NEPC is poised to harness the full benefits of exporting services from Nigeria, institute a culture of services and effective service delivery in Nigeria, saying that recently, the council embarked on functional review by KPMG which also took into cognizance the importance of services sector for the development of national economy.

    Also speaking at the event, the Consultant to Commonwealth on services capacity building and Managing Director, Multimix Group, Obiora Madu, said the services sector is the fastest growing sector of the global economy with trade and investment growing faster in services than gods.

    He added that the sector is vital to poverty alleviation and key to realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) both directly in terms of enhancing the availability and affordability of education, health services, energy, ICT services and the likes, pointing out that the industry also has the capacity to eradicate poverty through entrepreneurial and employment creation opportunities in services enterprises.

    He said the services sector has emerged as the largest segment of the economy, contributing a growing share of GDP, trade and employment, saying that it has become a major driving force of the world’s economy.