Diversifying the Nigerian’s economy from over-dependence on crude oil has been described by the Nigerian Assoccition of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) as the only strategy to effectively resuscitate and bring stability to the economy of our nation.
In a media chat held in Lagos, the Chamber’s Acting National president Bassey Edem, said: “It is urgent and of great priority for the incoming government to intensify the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and avoid the negative consequences of volatile oil prices.”
Edem stressed that Government needs to work assiduously towards making the required investment that would boost the growth of other non-oil sectors, such as, agriculture, manufacturing, solid mineral development and transport, which hold greater prospect of yielding huge revenue to the economy if properly harnessed.
He explained that the continued decline in crude oil prices was negatively affecting the nation’s revenue base and the national budget with the resultant effect on business direction.
“We have been very consistent in our warning against the country’s over reliance on export of Crude Oil as a major source of revenue, which price is prone to volatility, due to factors such as the OPEC Quota, unrest in the Middle-East, pipeline vandalisation and demand substitution.
NACCIMA however urged the outgoing administration and National Assembly to ensure the passage of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before May 29 handover date.
“We want to passionately appeal to the National Assembly and Federal Government to hasten up the process of as earlier promised so as to frontally and effectively address the above challenges.” Edem said.
NACCIMA further tasked Government to overhaul existing refineries and encourage building of new ones, most especially modular ones all around the country to enable the country increase her refining capacity for local consumption. This will support export of refined products and thereby maintaining local employment and saving the nation of foreign exchange used in the importation of refined products.
“There is also the need for the government to further empower the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Niger-Delta to tackle the problem of Oil Thieves and pipeline vandalization.”
On cost of governance, the umbrella body for the organised private sector in the country
Noted that, the cost associated with the running of the government has increased considerably over the years and has significantly increased recurrent expenditure of the government, thereby decreasing the government expenditure on public project in vital sectors of the economy.
“NACCIMA has been consistent in the call for reduction in the cost of running the government by pruning down the numbers of political appointees as well as the expenditure of the National Assembly. It is important for the incoming administration to start considering ways by which the country’s recurrent expenditure can be reduced beginning with a lean and efficient government administration.” Edem said.