Get serious with economic diversification, Baru tells government
The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, has urged the Federal Government to intensify its diversification programme by relying less on the oil sector as its major source of foreign exchange earnings.
Baru, who was guest lecturer at the 40th graduation ceremony of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said at the weekend that unless Nigeria immediately embarked on serious economic diversification, there was tendency for it to fall into the bracket of some oil-producing nations whose economies were nose-diving.
In his lecture, titled: ‘Oil and Gas Industry And The Nigerian State: Enduring Value, Promoting Economic Integration And Social Stability’, Baru said: “The foundation for long-term economic growth is in the tripod agenda of ensuring security, curbing corruption and growing the economy, which is well articulated in the 2017 to 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“Sole dependence on revenues from oil export exposes the Nigerian economy to the vagaries of developments in the global oil market. Oil price volatility in the global market accompanied by exchange rate appreciation has remained the key source of macro-economic volatility.
“To neutralise effects of the ‘Dutch Disease’, we need to uplift productivity in all sectors and particularly promote investment in non-oil sectors. This will indeed require some level of policy optimisation to support the revival of economic activities in all strategic sectors of the nation’s economy.”
He urged the Federal Government to raise productivity in the agricultural sector, as well as improve activities in the mining industry to raise the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
“Economic diversification by embracing various sectors, such as agriculture, mining, and manufacturing that can rescue the nation from the current economic doldrums is, therefore, necessary,” he added.