Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy, warning that the country will never be industrialized via dependence on crude oil.
Atiku who was the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, said this in an article he published on his Medium account.
In the post captioned “How to Pull Nigeria from the Brink,” Atiku called on the Nigerian government to look into the agricultural sector as a way of shoring up revenue in the face of dwindling oil fortunes.
“We must face the fact that reliance on crude oil is failing Nigeria and other mono-product economies, crude oil exporters,” he said.
Recalling how agriculture used to be the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy in the 50s and 60s, Atiku admitted that diversification might not be easy but said it is possible.
While citing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia as examples of oil-producing nations who have diversified their economies, he called on Nigeria to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AFCTA) to make the country “become an agricultural powerhouse in Africa.”
According to him, Nigeria must learn from “Venezuela’s predicaments,” stressing that “what is abundantly clear is that Nigeria is never going to become an industrialized nation by selling more oil, even if the oil market recovers.”
Also, he called for cost-saving measures including letting go of the Presidential Air Fleet, the cancellation of the planned renovation of the National Assembly and reduction of budgets for the legislature among others.
“We cannot be funding non-necessities with debt and not expect our economy to collapse,” he warned, adding that “The same cost-saving measures must be adopted by the states and councils government.”