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Worried by dwindling fortunes of petroleum, Reps want FG prepare for post-oil economy

Apparently disturbed by the dwindling fortunes of the petroleum market in years to come, the House of Representatives has tasked the Federal Government to make adequate plans and preparations for a post-oil economy in Nigeria.

The House therefore, urged the Federal Government to direct its energy, resources and focus on how to diversify the economy from dependence on oil to avert the looming implosion.

It also called on the Federal Government 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.

The Green Chamber asked the Federal Government 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.

It further mandated the Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Upstream) and National Planning and Economic development to ensure compliance.

The House made these resolutions at plenary on Tuesday, following 3 adoption of a motion moved by Abass Adigun (PDP, Oyo).

Moving the motion, Adigun noted 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.

The lawmaker also noted that the governments of France, the United Kingdom and Holland have stated their plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles between 2025 and 2040 in a push to clean up polluted cities.

He further noted 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.

According to the erstwhile US Navy Officer, the House is aware that the implication of this is that in no distant time, crude oil would have lost its global economic value and relevance.

Adigun said the House is: “also aware 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.

“Further aware that as a result of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world now, crude oil now sells for as low as $18.94 per barrel. Nigeria has so much crude oil but no country is willing to buy at the right price and do not have adequate storage facilities in the country.

“Concerned that this development is bound to adversely affect the nation’s economy if adequate plans are not made in preparation for a post-oil economy as more than 80% of our foreign exchange income is realized from the sale of crude oil.

“Also concerned that the continuous dependence on crude oil is failing Nigeria as the era of oil is gone and it will be destructive if we continue to base our development projections on crude oil and Nigeria is never going to become an industrialized nation by selling more oil, even if the oil market recovers”.

He recalled that in 1957, agriculture formed 86% of our export revenue but today, the figure is less than 3%. as the country has gone from being a net exporter of agricultural products to a net importer of food products.

The Ibadan South-East and Ibadan North-East representative said the House is: “cognizant that Saudi Arabia, despite its massive oil reserves, is working hastily towards its Vision 2030, which requires it to diversify from its dependence on oil.

“Also cognizant that United Arab Emirates despite being a young nation, has managed to diversify its economy from an almost complete reliance on oil in the 1970s, to a country where

72% of the GDP comes from non-oil sectors of the economy such as aviation, tourism and services sectors.

“Convinced that this present awakening is a blessing in disguise as it should compel the government to take far-reaching actions that will free nation from the entrapment of crude oil economy.

“Also convinced that Nigeria’s diversification should embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development because agriculture is key to ensuring food security and sustenance.

“Further convinced that with about 60% of its land assessed as arable, 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.

“Again convinced 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 beckon, for Nigeria”.

 

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