Nigeria must stop relying on crude oil earnings as the revenue it generates from the commodity is not economically sustainable, a former United Nations Permanent Representative and Under Secretary-General to the world body, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as well as heads of other agencies have said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 Leadership Impact and Sustainability Awards programme, organised by the CEO Clubs Network Nigeria in Abuja, Gambari, who received an award at the event, along with a presidential aspirant, Dr. Johnson Edosomwan, said it was high time the Federal Government diversified the nation’s economy.
Gambari alongside heads of other agencies, in separate interviews, said that the instability in crude oil prices had revealed some of the negative consequences as to why it was wrong to depend on crude as a major revenue source.
The former UN Permanent Representative, who is currently a member of the UN independent eminent experts on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, said: “We can’t afford to fully embark on the process of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
“And to do this, we have to invest in research and development so as to acquire the right knowledge and skills, because we cannot continue to depend on crude oil for our foreign exchange earnings. When you look at it critically, how many people does the oil sector employs?
“You will agree with me that the biggest challenge we have now is youth unemployment, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa and to some extent globally. So we have to diversify into the industrial sector, service provision, research and development, education and agriculture, because those are the sectors that have the capacity to employ more people.”
On his part, Dr. Edosomwan, said that Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil should be discontinued.
Edosomwan, who also received a platinum award on political leadership at the event, explained that Nigeria’s over-reliance on earnings from crude oil has been one of the major problems confronting the country.
He urged the government to provide an environment that is conducive for industries to thrive.
Edosomwan, who is also the founder, Nigeria Democratic Congress Party said: “Many countries have now realized that it is no more safe to continue to rely majorly on crude oil as a major revenue earner. Crude oil should be one of the last resource to rely on. So we need to create a diversified economy where we will have a robust manufacturing, agriculture and other productive sectors.
“Just relying solely on crude oil has been one of the major problems we have because when the price of the commodity drops in the international market we suffer as a nation. But when we have an economy that produces what it consumes and is able to export some of its products to other countries, then the country becomes very vibrant economically.”
Meanwhile Gambari and Edosomwan expressed happiness for the awards they got and promised to give more to the society, as well as support the growth of the Nigerian economy in their respective businesses.
“I feel honoured to have received an award from an organisation that focuses on the importance of leadership, its impact, sustainability and development. I am Chairman of Savanna Centre, which is a think-tank and NGO on the link between development, democracy, crisis resolution and peace. And for me, this award means a lot because we must put development back into our politics,” Gambari said.
On his part, Edosomwan said: “This award will spur me to give more to my society, push for the growth of the Nigerian economy and make more Nigerians see the need to support the government at all levels in nation building.”