‘Nigeria needs to review its foreign policies, strengthen agriculture’
A Calabar, Cross River-based philanthropist, Ben Akak, yesterday declared that Nigeria needed to review its foreign policies and strengthen its agricultural sector in view of the current crisis in the country’s political-economic space and its over-dependence on oil.
He stressed that it was important at this point that the country began to think of restructuring its political and economic strategies given the fall in oil prices as a result of coronavirus.
His words: “We cannot continue to use the same system and expect the same results. It is important that we restructure our economic policies and economic data. I believe that while maintaining the federating units and possibly strengthening them, there must be an element of decentralisation of the economy and the states could begin to be active.
“As we speak, Dubai is running on its own and it has started flying. This is different from what is going on in Abu-Dhabi, but they are all in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
“The more we strengthen the states and make them stronger and viable, the better for us as a nation. I think it will also help us to begin to look inwards more and see how we can be more self-sustaining.”
On other political-economic options to survive given the current crisis in the oil industry, Akak said the country should shut its borders continuously even when COVID-19 has been successfully contained, “because we have been depending so much on the West and other nations to survive, yet we have so much within us.
“We have the mineral resources and the intellectual capacity, we have all that God has given us. Imagine how the Russian President described Africa as a burial ground, yet all the wealth of the world like gold, oil, platinum and all that have to do with resources reside in Africa.
“What they use in producing phone today is in Africa so why can’t we look inwards and begin to be self- sustaining because the more we keep depending on others the more dangerous it is for us.
“Assuming we were producing ourselves, this economic lockdown will not be so much visible, but it is difficult because we depend on China, Europe and others for mostly everything.
“As I speak, most of my businesses cannot grow because our partners keep saying we cannot access China, which is why Nigeria is almost like a dumping ground. We need to go through this thing and be disciplined enough to come out stronger.”
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