By Margaret Mwantok and Daniel Anazia
Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, yesterday charged the Federal Government to save aggressively and diversify the nation's economy towards manufacturing and investments in developing education to enable the country exit recession.
Obi said this at the first annual conference of Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) on the theme: "Sustaining Growth Through Diversification of the Economy."He argued that the tragedy of the Nigerian economy was that its export revenue was solely derived from oil.
He added that from 2015 earnings, the country earned $45.5 billion from export, while $42 billion came from oil, which is less than 20 per cent of our GDP and that 80 per cent of the GDP, which is from non-oil sector contributed only $3 billion.
Obi stressed that Nigeria needed to diversify its economy and derive more revenue from other sectors like manufacturing and agriculture. "In 1980, Nigeria had a robust manufacturing sector where over 70 per cent of its gratification contributing almost 15 per cent of our GDP, but today, it is contributing less than 10 per cent," he said.
He noted that agriculture was no longer contributing to the country's export earnings. Comparing Nigeria with other countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea, with a similar trajectory, he said Nigeria had a GDP of $143bn in 1980, Indonesia had $161bn, South Korea had $149bn, Turkey had $200bn, Thailand had $66bn, China had $341bn while Malaysia had $45bn.
"Nigeria's reserve in 1980 was $10.58 billion. As at 1980, Nigeria had more reserve. But today, we have $30bn, Indonesia has $115, South Korea has $365, Malaysia has $105, China is at $3 trillion," he stated.
Speaking, the Editor-in-Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, who represented the Minister of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government was changing the narrative by focusing on the creative industry, especially music, processing of cocoa and leather as value added industries.On his part, Prof, Akin Onigbinde, stated that until the country restructures, its economy would not be viable.
Meanwhile, former Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday said the country needed to change its focus from crude oil to other sectors of the economy.He said this at a conference on 'Nigeria Beyond Oil: The Future', organised by the producers of 'Inside Out With Agatha,' as part of activities to mark its 20th anniversary celebration.
Special guest speaker, Folorunsho Alakija, called on the Federal Government and financial institutions that provide credit facilities for businesses to remove stringent loan conditions that continue to stifle creativity and entrepreneurship.
Also speaking, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, stated that current government policies impede foreign direct investments (FDIs), pointing out that the private sector should become a strategic partner in driving investments that would pull the country out of recession.