The Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has said that the country would only experience economic boost if it reduces its dependence on oil.
In a lecture entitled: “Nigeria Beyond Petrodollar; A Realistic Perspective” which was organised by the ‘January9Collective’, Tambuwal, who was represented by the minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila said that the country could experience an economic boost if it is diversified. He said: “Before the discovery of oil, we were into agriculture. In the last four budgets, the budget on agriculture has not been cut but increased because of its significance.
It has been said that 30 years from now, the world will no longer be in need of oil because many countries are now thinking of alternatives to oil, so, when that time comes, what happens to our economy? We therefore, need to go back to where we were at the beginning and that is agriculture. A nation that can feed itself is self sufficient. We cannot be self sufficient when we rely only on petrol.
“Taxation is also a mainstay and a good source of revenue. We realised N5 trillion last year from taxation, but there is still need to do more.
There are other areas that we can also pay more attention to and that is areas like sports and tourism. We can even go further by establishing banks for different industries.
“For most of the states in Nigeria, they need to pay more attention within and think of ways to generate income. There is also the issue of oil theft in the country. The Federal Government has always said that they can’t finance the budget as a result of oil theft.
“These statements tell us the underlying reason why we have to look beyond oil. One problem we have had with the present budget on the floor of the National Assembly is the issue of oil benchmark. The Federal Government insisted that the benchmark be put at N76 but if we at the National Assembly had consented to that, we would have short-changed our states and that was why we insisted on N79 as the benchmark.”
On the participation of women in politics and the economy, he said: “Women have complained that they are usually not being carried along.”
But we want to encourage women to go into agriculture, so, we cannot on one hand say they are not represented and on the other hand not participate in issues.”
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was represented by Special Adviser to the Governor on Regional Integration, Rev. Adetunji Adebiyi said that Nigeria had in the past depended on agriculture and its economy was good. He therefore, said that over dependence on oil would be counter productive in the future and urged the Federal Government to improve on infrastructures like the railway and power in order to boost the agricultural industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Economic Associates, Dr. Ayodele Teriba said that Nigeria’s economy recorded nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $250 billion in 2012, and made $450 billion from Public Private Partnership (PPP).