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How to diversify Nigerian economy, by Osunkeye, Otudeko

Olusegun Osunkeye, former chairman of Lafarge Africa and Nestlé Foods Nigeria, has asked Nigeria and African governments to  diversify their economy in order to facilitate rapid development.

He urged the Nigerian government to support the manufacturing sector to  rely less on crude oil.

Delivering a speech at the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) 2018 annual dinner dance and inauguration of its 18th president held in Lagos recently, Osunkeye stated that before the discovery of oil in 1956, agriculture had been the country’s leading revenue provider, but this has changed as crude oil now stands as the major source of revenue for the country, occupying about 90 percent of this space.

He further said that the discovery of oil has been both a blessing and a curse.

He stated that Nigeria’s failure to responsibly manage its resources has caused so much suffering for the people, wreaking havoc in many ways in terms of insecurity, corruption, tribal and ethnic clashes.

He also said that other African countries have been able to diversify their economy, especially with the agricultural sector, which has helped raise their development, advising the country to follow that path in order to achieve the very much coveted development of the economy.

Oba Otudeko, chairman, Honeywell Group, stated that although 2018 was a tough year for NACC, it was able to successfully achieve great feats like the increase in trade volumes.

“Bilateral trade between Nigeria and the US was $9.2 billion in 2017. It is hearty to note that NACC members have helped create the drops that have resulted in the $9.2billion ocean.”

“While we await the 2018 figures, we must not lose sight of the fact that such impressive trade volumes could not have been achieved without efforts of critical stakeholders. You are one such major stakeholders in bilateral economic relations between Nigeria and the US and truly deserve accolades for the tremendous work you have been doing over the past 58 years to promote and increase bilateral trade between Nigeria and the US.”

Toyin Akomolafe, president and chairman of the board of NACC, said Nigeria is attractive for foreign direct investments.

“Nigeria’s current economic growth depends on the non-oil sector, particularly construction, telecommunications, wholesale/retail trade, hotel and restaurant services, manufacturing, and agriculture.

“The development of the non-oil sector is imperative to enable continued development even amidst temperamental oil prices.”

He said that his aim is to help businesses in Nigeria achieve the necessary measures to improve margins, and intensify investment partnership with the United States in order to facilitate increase in the country’s exports.



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