With oil discovery by more countries coupled with increased production in terms of quota and barrel per day, bpd, the fall in oil price has left Nigeria which has relied heavily
on oil with insufficient earnings to finance its projects and governance. Unless the economy is diversified, Nigeria is at a risk of not being able to meet her financial obligations,
writes CLEMENT NWABUKO of our Sub Desk


THE continuous crash
being witnessed in the price
of oil in the International
marketing is no longer a
rumour; it has now dawned
on us that this situation
will linger for a long time
to come. Some observers
even fear that the ugly
development has come to
With the increase in US
shale oil production which
stood at about four million
barrel per day, mbpd, US
(the largest importer of
Nigeria’s brent crude) has
stopped importation of
crude from Nigeria. The
quick resolution of the
internal strife in Libya
which has led to triple fold
production of barrels of oil
has not helped the oil price
either, even as the OPEC
infighting has not helped
matters in salvaging the oil
price from nose-diving.
No thanks to Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait currently
on oil price war thereby
repeatedly lowering their
prices in order to maintain
their market shares in Asia.
With all of these emerging
developments, the oil price
is not likely to recover
anytime soonest.
Imperatively, it is
time for Nigeria to look
inwards and see how its
economy can be diversified
with alacrity to enable it
salvage its economy from
total collapse. Nigeria is
blessed with fertile land,
tropical rain forest, good
climatic weather condition,
abundant natural and
human resources to be able
to turn our fortune around
for the better.
Agricultural sector plays a
central role in the economic
diversification process. It
was the main stay of the
country’s economy prior
to oil discovery in Oloibiri
in 1956 and accounted for
about 95% of the country’s
Gross Domestic Product,
GDP. It provides both
backward and forward
integration-raw material
and outputs are put
into proper use without
wastages. Agriculture has
the capacity to generate
employment to the teeming
youths; provide food for
man, feed for animals, raw
materials for our industries,
processing and marketing
of crops for export which
will in turn generate income
for the country.
Obviously, Nigeria has
what it takes to feed her
populace and generate
income if all sections of the
country are encouraged to
produce according to their
natural endowment and
comparative advantage. The
eastern part of the country is
endowed with palm oil and
coal. While the former is the
main product sustaining the
economy of Malaysia today
which they took from us years
back, the same can be replicated
in the country with greater
result if revisited with required
The Western part of the
country is endowed with
cocoa and can be exported.
Cocoa is a vital product in
the production of beverages
and its employment ability
cannot be over-emphasized, let
alone the income-generating
capacity. Northern region
is blessed with groundnut,
hide and skin- these are key
in terms of manufacturing. If
these areas should be focused on and addressed properly,
the problem of dwindling oil
prices will not be an issue with
Nigerian economy.
Other areas where the country
should focus its search-light for
economic survival and recovery
are such areas as entertainment
industry, tourism, sports and
solid minerals. The education
curriculum should also be
redesigned to equip our youths
in such a way that immediately
after graduation, they will
be self-employed instead
of crowding in the already
saturated labour market.
The downward in the oil price
of brent crude is an eye opener
and a lunch-pad for the longtalked
about diversification
from oil to a less volatile
economic base. The effort in
the recent past in rebasing
the economy and investment
in the agricultural sector is
welcome development and a
right step in the right direction.
The expectation is that greater
attention should be given to
these sectors in the years ahead
if the economy must return to
its glorious era.
What is important is for the
in-coming administration of
General Muhammadu Buhari
to recognise that the volatility
characterising the oil price
today is an indication that oil
is no longer a determinant
factor in measuring the
wealth importance or power
of a nation. The time to look
inward and make maximum use of available resources
and other endowments
(other than oil) is now.
The country’s intellectual
resources are highly needed
and this cannot be divorced
from human resources
scattered all over the world
who have helped foreign
countries in their quest for
scientific and technological
advancement. If the enabling
environment is provided
through reliable economic
policies and legislations,
Diaspora Nigerians will
see the country as a safe
haven for them to come
and make meaningful
contributions to its growth
and development

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