President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria needs to diversify the economy from relying mainly on oil sector to survive the current global oil price crash.
The President spoke on Wednesday evening at a dinner organised for participants of the Going for Growth 2.0 Roundtable at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
President Buhari noted that the crushing effect of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the eventual crash of oil price on the nation’s economy were reasons enough to start thinking of growing a strong multi-sectoral economy.
The event was hosted some of the leaders of the nation’s private sector, including the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia.
It was a follow-up to the Going for Growth 2.0 Roundtable, organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with some private sector operators earlier in the day in Abuja.
President Buhari noted that the destabilising effect of the outbreak of the COVID-19 on global economies, especially on the world of crude oil trade, which had affected the nation’s fiscal plans, had further made it necessary for Nigeria to diversify.
He expressed delight that his administration had long taken the diversification of the economy as a policy it must implement as a long-term solution to national economic survival.
“A key focus of this administration has been diversification of the Nigerian economy and improving Nigeria’s level of self-sufficiency in food production. These measures would help support faster economic growth, create employment opportunities for our teeming youths, and reduce our import bill.
“The onset of the Coronavirus in December 2019, which has spread to over 100 countries, is having a significant impact on global growth, as well as commodity prices, such as crude oil, which has dropped by over 45 per cent since January 2020.
“These external challenges have only served to reinforce the importance of ensuring that Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of strategic goods.
“They have also highlighted the fact that we need to continue to implement measures that would enable growth in other sectors of our economy and reduce our dependence on earnings from crude oil. For these objectives to be achieved, the vital role of the Nigerian private sector cannot be disputed or overemphasised.
“I am delighted to note that we have made some progress in our diversification plans and in creating an enabling environment for the Nigerian private sector to thrive.