Nigeria must stop relying on crude oil earnings as the revenue it generates from the commodity is not economically sustainable, a former United Nations Permanent Representative and Under Secretary-General to the world body, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, as well as heads of other organisations, have said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 Leadership Impact and Sustainability Awards, organised by the CEO Clubs Network Nigeria in Abuja, Gambari, who described himself as a stakeholder in the oil sector, said it was high time the Federal Government diversified the nation’s economy.
Gambari alongside heads of other organisations, told our correspondent in separate interviews that the instability in crude oil prices had revealed some of the negative consequences on why it was wrong to depend on crude as a major revenue source.
The former UN Permanent Representative, who is currently a member of the UN independent eminent experts on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, said, “We can’t afford to fully embark on the process of diversifying in the Nigerian economy. This is because revenue from crude oil sale is no longer sustainable.
“And for us to diversify, we have to invest in research and development so as to acquire the right knowledge and skills. We cannot continue to depend on crude oil for our foreign exchange earnings. When you look at it critically, how many people does the oil sector employ?
“You will agree with me that the biggest challenge we have now is youth unemployment, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa and to some extent globally. So we have to diversify into the industrial sector, service provision, research and development, education and agriculture, because those are the sectors that have the capacity to employ more people.”