Slump in crude oil price, stock markets a wakeup call, says Omo-Agege
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has charged the leadership of the country to see the slump in crude oil price due to outbreak of coronavirus pandemic as a wake-up call for Nigeria to look towards an economy without oil.
The country has been depending on crude oil as its major source of foreign exchange earning for which current realities demand bold policy changes to restructure the country’s mono-product economy.
Omo-Agege spoke as a guest of honour at the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Set of the Nigerian Military School in Zaria, Kaduna State at the weekend.
He stated this in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, and made available to The Guardian in Abuja.
The Deputy Senate President also charged the old students to fashion out creative solutions to the challenges confronting the country, saying, “The recent global outbreak of the COVID-19 obviously poses peculiar challenges, not only for personal health but also for the nation’s economy and businesses.
“As we have seen already in the global oil and foreign exchange markets, these are frightening challenges that we must resolve. Although, the present administration has taken bold measures to stave off the outbreak from our shores, I am sure this global threat remains in the mind of every one of us.
“We need to deal with the sharp drop in global oil prices and its impact on the 2020 budget and the exchange rate and by implication, on the short, medium and long-term health of the economy.
“We will get through this, but it is going to require, more than anything else, bold policy changes to restructure the economy because it is still too dependent on crude oil.
However, he said it would necessitate some drastic changes in the ways of life of Nigerians adding that it will not be easy, adding, “I am optimistic that we can do it. And my optimism about Nigeria going forward is in part because we have people who have the discipline associated with their Alma Mata.”
The Senate had last week constituted a Joint Committee on Finance, National Planning and Appropriation to engage relevant federal ministries on the recent crash in oil price.
This followed a Point of Order raised by the Senate Majority Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, while Omo-Agege, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, disclosed that the panel would soon receive memoranda from Nigerians on the Fifth Alteration of the 1999 Constitution.