Over Dependence on Oil Must Stop, We're Matured Enough for Economic Diversification --Rotimi Makinde
Economic diversification is vital to countries' long and short term growth, but many resource-rich countries like Nigeria remain heavily reliant on revenues generated through mining and oil production, jeopardizing their chances for sustainable growth. Too often, countries lack clear policy guidelines on how to diversify, policymakers have limited understanding of why diversification is important.
Without doubt states governments in the country will continue to go to Abuja cap in hands to beg for oil money unless the country goes back to agriculture. As we are all aware, there are lot of unemployed graduates today in Nigeria because the economy of the nation depends largely on oil instead of agriculture. Agriculture was the main occupation of Nigerians. In those days, the Northern, South West and South East major occupation was agriculture.
Each of the regions concentrated on the production of agriculture products of which they have comparative advantages. Besides, the regions were competing on developmental projects for the betterment of their people.
Nigeria's economy ran into crisis in early 70s, with the oil boom. All the regions forget about agriculture and only await the oil money, from the monthly allocation from the Federal Government and this led us to where we found ourselves today where we have many graduates without jobs, unfortunately this trend is contributing to high prevalent rate of crime and prostitution among idle youths.
To address this regretable gap, Federal Government through our visionary and amiable President, Mohammadu Buhari should offer special grant for special and dedicated projects to States, in order to prepare them for low funding in view of dwindling economy. It is high time we cultivated such culture and give such bail out and not only when we are unable to pay workers' salaries. This laudable initiative will definitely prime healthy competition among states.
This genuine intervention can concentrate on Agriculture or manufacturing as the case may be, and according to each state's environment, weather or areas of core competence. For instance State of Osun can explore Maize production in commercial quantity, Benue can concentrate on Yam prodction, Lagos because of its aquatic endowment can go for fishing, whilst Adamawa can settle for all kinds of Fruits etc. Each states of the federation can therefore be supported by the central government with at least 15Billion Naira each; with prudent management and supervision this would be far reaching and sustainable. This can however make Nigeria to stand shoulder to shoulder with other leading econo mies of the world without recourse to money from crude oil.
I also use this medium to appeal to stakeholders in education to look into the country’s education curriculum and introduce courses like entrepreneurship that will assist graduates from our institution to address unemployment scourge.
Hon. Rotimi Makinde
Hon Rotimi Makinde represented Ife Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives in the 7th Assembly (2011-2015).