By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The immediate past Chairman of Wemabod Estates and former Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State, Dr Ismail Adebayo Adewusi has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to depart from the dependence policy of the past administrations in order to fix the wobbling Nigeria’s economy once and for all.
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Dr Adewusi said it was glaring that for now, the best solution to the present economic is to without wasting time, diversify the country’s economy from oil dependence to agriculture.
The former Lagos state Commissioner for Finance stressed that the mentality of exporting crude oil at the detriment of other economic ventures has reduced the country to a monolithic economy which deserved immediate arrest.
“The only way we can improve this economy is to quickly do what I call the diversification thing. Let us quickly address the issue of diversifying our economy away from where we are. We have consistently canvassed for a diversification of the economy away from oil, because as long as this external shock from the global oil price continues, we will be having crisis managing our economy, especially in fulfilling government obligations. It is about time that we tackled this issue of diversification of the economy in a very serious manner,” he said.
Speaking further, he said “commodity prices are declining internationally and oil, being the driver of the revenue of the Nigerian government has suffered very serious decline, and this has affected the capacity of government to provide resources
to turn the economy around”.
Dr Adewusi maintained that “even in the 2016 budget, which is a budget of about N6trillion, it has a deficit component of about N2trillion, which is very substantial” adding that, “but the main issue facing Nigeria today is the problem of over reliance on this mono-cultural, mono-product economy, which requires that we diversify to agriculture’.
“Agriculture requires single digit financing. In terms of interest rates, agriculture with subsidy on inputs, fertilizers, seedlings, will go a long way. Even financing in terms of real channeling of financing intervention funds in agriculture will boost production, while providing opportunities for our youths to start something, rather than looking for jobs that are not there.
“These are the things we need to immediately embark on. And the good thing about agriculture is that it does not take so long a time. If you plant maize today, in 90 days time, you begin to harvest. The rainy/planting season is here already, so, we need to immediately drive this process. It is not about mouthing it”.