Going by the present indices in the oil market, bleak future awaits Nigeria, if it continues to rely on oil-based revenue to finance it’s yearly budget.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and the chairman of Aliko Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote made this grim prediction Thursday at the ongoing 9th Guild of Editors Conference, holding in Asaba, capital of Delta State.
According to them, these frightening indices will ultimately crash the price of oil in the international market.
These indices which they described as frightening, include the discovery of oil in several African countries, the discovery of shale oil by the Americans as well as the prospects of further discoveries of alternatives in European countries.
For these obvious reasons, the trio warned that Nigeria needs an urgent diversification from oil-based revenue generation, or else a possible collapse of the economy was imminent.
Engr. Joseph Makoju who presented the keynote address on behalf of Alhaji Dangote, said: “Today, the main market of our oil, USA is on an annual basis demanding less and less of the product. They have found an alternative and in fact it is being projected that by 2020, the USA would be an importer of the product.
“The demand for Nigerian crude is dropping and supply for the product from other countries has increased, hence the price of the product in the economic sense would drop.”
To avert the possible economic doom, they proposed measures that the nation must take to avoid a total collapse of the economy should the demand for the product cease.
According to them, Nigeria must diversify the economy by using the resource from oil to drive industrialisation; adding value to the raw material; and begin to develop the local market enhance local consumption of finished products.
“We believe that it is time we stop exporting crude just like the raw material but to start adding value to our crude because the competition is stiff. We need to start producing petroleum products not just crude. We must begin to look at local consumption of the product. We have a market here in this country because of our huge population. We should develop a market for our petroleum products not only in Nigeria but across the West African sub-region. We must begin to use petroleum resource to drive industrialisation because it is through this that we can add value to our various raw materials and stop importation of home made goods. It should be noted that any time we import, we are export jobs,” Dangote stated.
On his part, Senator Anyim went further to highlight the role of editors in the diversification from oil-based economy to a non-oil economy, saying that editors must strive to remain as patriotic professionals.
“As we look at the future of Nigeria, the greatest role of the editor is that he must remain a true patriot. We must be men and women of reason and judgement of our profession to retain its pride of place in our society.
“Our most critical needs would include fostering unity and peace for sustainable development; deepening the democratic culture; protection of constitutionalism, promotion of human rights and advancement of political, social and economic indicators.
“These are necessary conditions for national security, national peace, social harmony and national cohesion. It is only in this mood that we can overcome the challenges ahead,” Anyim submitted.
Also contributing on the need for economic generation, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Femi Adesina, who lamented that for the past four decades, the nation has run a mono-product economy with petroleum being the mainstay, noted that the host governor has been very passionate about charting a future for the state beyond oil.
He said the conference was the contribution of editors on how to avoid the imminent economic collapse and build an economy that is diversified from oil.
Adesina who set the tune for the discussion in his welcome address when he said the theme of the conference was for the “hour and for the season,” urged the federal government to imbibe the passion behind the ‘Delta beyond Oil’ mantra, insisting that it has become imperative that “we must envision and evolve a Nigeria beyond oil, otherwise we perish. Nigeria must now diversify or die.”
“We have allowed the easy money from oil to strangulate other cash cows like agriculture, tourism, solid minerals and many others but as we say everyday is not Christmas and the egungun festival must end one day. The honeymoon is about ending, oil is fast becoming a vanishing source of easy revenue.
“Doomsday is by the corner except we become so active and stave-off the evil. Can you imagine a Nigeria that can no longer fund its imports yet remain a consumer nation? Can you consider the chilling prospect of a nation that is no longer able to pay the wages and salaries to its army of civil and public servants? Surely things will fall apart and anarchy will be loose on the landscape,” he stated.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku mentioned the multi-faceted efforts by the Jonathan administration to move Nigeria away from oil dependence. Such efforts included the investments in agriculture, the encouragement of local industries, investment in infrastructure, such as power generation and roads.
The host governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan also spoke on the various efforts by the state to build an economy not dependent on oil. His state has been exploring the theme the past six years and has begun to put in place, some concrete efforts to steer the economy of the oil rich state, away from oil.
The 9th edition of Guild of Editors Conference, has as its theme, “Nigeria beyond Oil: The Role of the Editor.”
Source: PM News
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