Lagos, August 29, 2023 – A panel of economists has advised President Bola Tinubu’s administration to pivot its attention towards non-oil exports as a strategic measure to invigorate the nation’s ailing economy.
During an exclusive interview on Arise TV, held on Tuesday, renowned economist and public affairs analyst Ifediora Amobi criticized the government for its disproportionate emphasis on the oil sector, thereby sidelining other potential revenue streams.
Amobi asserted, “Despite the considerable potential within the non-oil sector, our continued fixation on oil has impeded broader economic advancement.”
Commending President Tinubu’s innovative approaches, Amobi highlighted the significance of diversification, suggesting that Nigeria could significantly diminish its reliance on crude oil earnings by exploring various promising domains, such as agriculture, manufacturing, and logistics services.
The economist outlined an array of growth prospects intrinsic to these sectors, underscoring the substantial economic benefits achievable through well-crafted diversification strategies.
Amobi emphasized, “These sectors, including the creative industry, arts, and culture, hold immense potential. With the right measures, we have the opportunity to break free from our conventional reliance on crude oil revenue and venture into multifaceted value chains in agriculture and manufacturing.”
Discussing the concern of governance expenditures, Amobi shed light on the notable financial influence of personnel costs on the broader cost of governance.
He critiqued the practice of maintaining numerous personal assistants and advisors for elected and appointed officials, characterizing many of these positions as “jobs for political favor.”
Advocating a streamlined methodology, Amobi underscored the significance of eradicating redundancies and overlaps in personnel roles.
Such an approach, according to Amobi, could lead to substantial savings in salaries, overheads, and other expenses at both the federal and state levels.
Former Chief Economist of Zenith Bank, Marcel Okeke, emphasized the necessity for policies that would stimulate the economy and reduce dependence on imported goods.
He advocated for bolstering the agricultural sector through enhanced farmer security and mechanized farming practices.
Okeke emphasized, “For economic stimulation, we must enable individuals to return to farming by offering security and moving away from subsistence farming towards mechanization.”
Highlighting data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Okeke pointed out that in the first quarter of 2023, the agricultural sector contributed to 4.3% of Nigeria’s total exports (N6,487.04 billion).
Central to the discourse, Okeke identified Nigeria’s heavy reliance on crude oil exports, which leaves the economy vulnerable to international oil price fluctuations.
He noted, “Nigeria’s economic foundation is deeply rooted in oil, and without proactive measures to earn foreign currency through diverse channels, the repercussions are dire for the economy.
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