Obi seeks real sector diversification

Former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi has called for the diversification of the economy.

Speaking on Sustaining growth through diversification of the economy during a seminar organised by the association of Group of Online Publishers (GOCOP) in Lagos, he said the economy is already diversified.

He said the non-oil sector is contributing about 80 per cent to the nation’s GDP, noting that the tragedy is that the oil sector, however, accounts for 90 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings.

He listed three ways to put the economy back on track.

According to him, government must urgently embark on aggressive savings, diversification of the economy towards manufacturing and investment in developmental education.

“Our economy is fully diversified because the non-oil sector is actually contributing about 80 per cent to our GDP today.

“But the tragedy of our economy is that 90 per cent of our export revenue is derived from just one sector – oil.

“Diversifying our economy through manufacturing and investment in education is what we require today to turn around our economy.

“And by aggressive savings we’ll be able to get the resources to bring about micro economic stability to the country, defend our currency and be able to attract FDI and portfolio investments and unlock the resources to invest in our deteriorated infrastructure,” Obi, who described himself as a trader and businessman, said.

Another guest speaker, Mr Bayo Onanuga, urged the group to come up with code of conduct for online media practitioners.

Onanuga, who is Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), urged the leadership to pursue capacity building for members through workshops and seminars to broaden their knowledge.

The NAN chief assured that his organisation would collaborate with GOCOP in generating contents, not only text but videos and photographs.

Keynote speaker, Prof Akinyemi Onigbinde, said the nation needs to restructure the polity before talking about diversification of the economy.

“Let me say this and it is with all sense of responsibility, that the proponents of this ‘diversification’ theory, with respect to the chronically ill Nigerian economy, are not being honest.

“Indeed, I  dare say they are being mischievous, just as they insist on playing Nero as our Rome prepares to go up in flames. Truth is, for Nigeria, it may well be one-minute to midnight, if we continue to ignore the ‘first principle’ in nation-building.

“So, what is responsible for Nigeria’s arrested development, to put it in a counter thesis to GOCOP request: Nigeria’s economy cannot enjoy a sustainable growth and neither can it be diversified because there is even no basis for economic growth.’’

“As I had earlier suggested, what economy are we to diversify? And As I had also insisted on, there can be no economy to be diversified, hence there will be no growth as to speak of ‘sustainable growth.’

“But let us, however, say that Nigeria will continue to remain in a state of suspended animation, economically, so long as some sections of the Nigerian nation space feel short-changed by the Nigeria political economy, due, largely, to the operations of present structure of the Nigerian state.

“Truth is, so long as the centre holds a ‘veto power’ over the economic activities of Nigeria so-called federating units, so long will Nigeria manifest destiny remain dormant,” Prof Onigbinde said.


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