Coronavirus has strengthened our resolve to diversify economic system – Minister of Finance

By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The Federal Government has revealed that the latest pandemic of the coronavirus (formally named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization), has strengthened its resolve to diversify the economic system of the nation, particularly from over-reliance on oil.

The Minister of Finance, who made this recognized on Monday in Abuja, throughout the worldwide convention on Nigeria’s Commodities Market by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), defined that our nation is well-endowed with numerous commodities, comprising agriculture, vitality and steel assets, and the capital market group can present the platform and voice for the a lot wanted diversification.

According to her, “Several nationwide plans, programmes and initiatives have been directed at diversifying the manufacturing and income buildings of our economic system. While some degree of achievements have been recorded on this space, extra nonetheless must be achieved to make sure that our manufacturing and exports base grow to be extra strong, much less weak to exterior shocks and supply extra alternatives to our teeming inhabitants.

“Interestingly, the unfolding occasions of the previous few months, the coronavirus pandemic and the oil value battle, have additional strengthened our resolve to diversify our nationwide economic system.

“For occasion, the agriculture sector employs about 40 % of our labour pressure and accounted for 22 % of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the finish of 2019. In the final 5 years, the sector has recorded optimistic progress charges, larger than that of the whole economic system, and even optimistic in 2016 when the whole economic system went into recession.

“The mining and quarrying sector, dominated by oil and fuel, can also be a significant part of our output, accounting for 9 % of GDP. The sector is liable for the majority of Nigeria’s international alternate and authorities earnings.

“A further examination shows that commodity-dependent activities dominate our manufacturing sector. Specifically, production of Food, Beverage, Tobacco, Textile and Wood products accounted for about 7.5 percent of our GDP. While trading activities accounted for 15.5 percent with many of what is traded being agriculture-based.

“Imagine when all these endowments and activities are further expanded and formalized. There will definitely be greater prosperity for everyone. I believe this Conference will contribute to realizing this vision”.

The Acting Director-General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, mentioned, “While it’s clear that Nigeria is effectively endowed with agricultural, metals and vitality commodities, our potentials in these areas are unrealised.

“The excellent news nonetheless, is that the capital market can be utilized as an avenue to unlock these potentials and diversify the nation’s economic system, whereas offering jobs, creating values and contributing to governments’ income.

“We believe that if we can develop and institutionalise a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address problems such as lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardization, as well as low foreign exchange earnings affecting our agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors”.

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in his comment, mentioned: “As we’re all conscious, Nigeria is engaged on diversifying its economic system in addition to its income sources. The have to develop different channels of producing income and international alternate is crucial. This want is additional underscored by the latest drop within the world value of crude oil, which additionally constitutes a significant risk to reaching deliberate authorities expenditure.

“In realization of those, the Federal Government has put many initiatives in place to develop the agriculture and strong mineral sectors.

“Broadly, the diversification of the economic system by these sectors is among the many main elements of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration. Achieving self-sufficiency in meals manufacturing and constructing a globally aggressive economic system by funding in infrastructure are due to this fact thought of pertinent within the EGRP.

“The Government’s Rice Value Chain initiatives whereby Nigerian Farmers are geared up with improved rice seedlings, fertilizers, and borrowing amenities for manufacturing of Nigerian rice is yielding optimistic outcomes; so are also associated initiatives within the manufacturing and processing of different crops.

“Further, the government is working towards establishing Agricultural Industrial Parks (AIPs) across our Six-Geopolitical Zones, with the sole aim of creating jobs, ensuring food sufficiency and harnessing the comparative advantage in each geopolitical zone”.

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