Nigeria Must Diversify Its Economy to Survive in a World Less Dependent on fossil fuels - President Jonathan

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday in Beijing that the increasing exploitation and utilisation of shale gas and other alternative sources of energy by the United States and other advanced nations of the world has made it more urgent for Nigeria to move faster towards the diversification of its economy.

Speaking in an interview with China Television, President Jonathan said that the increasing utilisation of alternative sources of energy was a matter of concern for Nigeria and other oil exporting nations.

'That is why we have to increase the pace of diversifying our economy and moving our country away from dependence on the oil and gas industry.

'We must work towards greater industrialisation, add more value to our agricultural products, develop our solid minerals potentials and other sectors of our economy before the time comes when crude oil may no longer be dominant as a global source of energy,' the President said.

At a meeting with the Nigerian community in China, President Jonathan commended the National Assembly for its ongoing process of expanding the coverage of the Local Content Act to sectors other than oil and gas, saying that the move will further stimulate domestic industrialisation and contribute significantly to the desired diversification of Nigeria's economy.

Responding to concerns raised by a member of the community about Nigerian professionals having to compete with expatriates from China and other countries for employment opportunities in Nigeria, the President said that Nigeria's immigration laws and expatriate quotas provide adequate protection for Nigerian workers.

'If our immigration personnel do their job as they are expected to do it, then you are all adequately protected,' he said.

President Jonathan urged Nigerian students and professionals in China to imbibe the positive traits of the Chinese and come home to contribute to national development.

'You are in a country that is a super-power, a country that is technologically developed, a country of hardworking people who work day and night. If you imbibe this culture and pass through their training, you will all be in a position to come home and help us to develop our own country,' the President told students and professionals at the interactive session.

He assured them that his administration was totally committed to making a positive difference in the lives of all Nigerians.

'As a people, we must build our country. I can assure you that we are working steadily to do so. Our vision and roadmap are very clear,' President Jonathan told members of the Nigerian community.

Before his meeting with the Nigerian community, the President addressed a large turn-out of Chinese investors at a Nigeria-China Business Forum in the Beijing World Trade Centre and urged them to take advantage of the very generous investment incentives currently being offered by the Federal Government.

President Jonathan assured the Chinese business community of the safety of their current and future investments in Nigeria.