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Reps unhappy with overdependence on oil revenue

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
02 June 2020   |   5:30 pm
The House of Representatives is unhappy that oil revenues remains the mainstay of the nation's economy.

Oil Well PHOTO: UIG | Getty Images

The House of Representatives is unhappy that oil revenues remains the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

As a result, the House has stressed the need by the authorities to make adequate plans and preparation for a Post-Oil Economy in Nigeria.

The decision followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mr Abass Adigun at the plenary presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

As a result, the House urged the executive arm to direct its energy, resources and focus on how to diversify the economy from dependence on oil to avert what it termed ” the looming implosion” in the economy.

The House also urged the authorities to liberalize land tenure system to make it possible and easy for some of the 27 million unemployed Nigerians to have access to land to engage in farming.

Calling on the authorities 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; the House mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Upstream) and National Planning and Economic development to ensure compliance.

Adigun while moving the motion warned that the continuous dependence on crude oil by Nigeria is destructive as it has become glaring that the era of oil is gone.

Making copious reference to advanced economies of the world, he asserted Nigeria is never going to become an industrialized nation by selling more oil, even if the oil market recovers fully.

The lawmaker remarked 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.

He made reference to the governments of France, the United Kingdom and Holland of their plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles between 2025 and 2040 in a push to clean up polluted cities.

He claimed 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 implication, he said, is that in no distant time, crude oil would have lost its global economic value and relevance;

To buttress his claim, he stated 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.

He contended that the reverses suffered by oil price in the international market as a result of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world , present an opportunity for Nigeria to exploit the agricultural sector and then free nation from the entrapment of crude oil economy.

Stating that Nigeria’s diversification should embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development because agriculture is key to ensuring food security and sustenance; he argued that 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;

He further stated 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.