Reps task FG on adequate preparation for post-oil economy in Nigeria

• Say Nigeria can reap from $48 billion expended yearly on food imports in Africa

The House of Representatives on Tuesday admonished Federal Government on the need to direct its energy, resources and focus on how to diversify the economy from dependence on oil to avert the looming economic implosion.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Abass Adigun who expressed optimism in Nigeria’s capacity to capture a substantial portion of the $48 billion expended yearly on food imports across Africa.

In his lead debate, Hon. Adigun who harped on the need for the present administration to make adequate plans and preparation for a post-oil economy in Nigeria, by liberalizing land tenure system in order to make it possible for some of the 27 million unemployed Nigerians to have access to land to engage in farming.

“The House notes that as a result of technological developments and breakthroughs, many advanced countries of the world have indicated their intentions to phase out the production of vehicles powered by petrol and diesel and replace them with the ones powered by renewable energy, at various times before year 2040.

“The House also notes that the governments of France, the United Kingdom and Holland have stated their plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles between 2025 and 2040 in a push to clean up polluted cities.

“The House further notes that some companies have started producing electric cars and non-grid solar panels to provide electricity in homes as a replacement for noisy, unwieldy, gas-guzzling electricity plants and an example of such companies is Tesla, an American electric car manufacturer which produced about 80,000 electric cars in 2016,100,000 electric cars in 2017, 86,555 electric cars in 2018 and produced 77,100 electric cars in the first quarter of 2019.

“The House is aware that the implication of this is that in no distant time, crude oil would have lost its global economic value and relevance.

“The House is also aware that on 27 April 2020, British oil and gas giant, BP, declared a quarterly loss of $4.4 billion as against the profit of $2.6 billion made in the first quarter of 2019 which is a testament to the fact that the oil and gas sector is already in crisis.

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“The House is further aware that as a result of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world now, crude oil now sells for as low as $18.94 per barrel. Nigeria has so much crude oil but no country is willing to buy at the right price and do not have adequate storage facilities in the country.

“The House is concerned that this development is bound to adversely affect the nation’s economy if adequate plans are not made in preparation for a post-oil economy as more than 80% of our foreign exchange income is realized from the sale of crude oil.

“The House is also concerned that the continuous dependence on crude oil is failing Nigeria as the era of oil is gone and it will be destructive if we continue to base our development projections on crude oil and Nigeria is never going to become an industrialized nation by selling more oil, even if the oil market recovers.

“The House recalls that in 1957, agriculture formed 86% of our export revenue but today, the figure is less than 3%. as the country has gone from being a net exporter of agricultural products to a net importer of food products.

“The House is cognizant that Saudi Arabia, despite its massive oil reserves, is working hastily towards its Vision 2030, which requires it to diversify from its dependence on oil.

“The House is also cognizant that United Arab Emirates despite being a young nation, has managed to diversify its economy from almost complete reliance on oil in the 1970s to a country where 72% of the GDP comes from non-oil sectors of the economy such as aviation, tourism and services sectors.

“The House is convinced that this present awakening is a blessing in disguise as it should compel the government to take far-reaching actions that will free the nation from the entrapment of crude oil economy.

“The House is also convinced that Nigeria’s diversification should embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development because agriculture is key to ensuring food security and sustenance.

“The House is further convinced that with about 60% of its land assessed as arable, Nigeria is capable of becoming the food basket of the rest of Africa and in the process, it can capture a substantial portion of the $48 billion that goes towards food imports in Africa yearly.

“The House is again convinced that when the huge opportunities of agriculture are combined with an invigorated manufacturing and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sectors, then a new era of prosperity and sustainability will beckons, for Nigeria,” he said.

The House also urged Federal Government to set up a special committee to deliberate on the post-oil economy in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendations that would guarantee the survival of the nation’s economy.

To this end, the House mandated its Committees on National Planning, Legislative Compliance, Petroleum Resources (Downstream & Upstream) to ensure compliance.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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