Why our national economy must not solely depend on oil. ------ Gov Dave Umahi

SouthEaastPost

NSUKKA----- Chairman of South East Governors' Forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, has called for called for the restructuring of the country as the only solution to save Nigeria from imminent collapse. Umahi said that none of the most 20 most prosperous nations in the world depended on proceeds from oil as Nigeria, saying that policy makers must restructure the national economy away from its overdependence on oil. Umahi spoke as the Guest Lecturer at the 59th Founders Day of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, of the university, Tuesday. The topic of the lecture was, "Preparing Ebonyi State for Tomorrow's Zero Oil Economy." His words, "USA is the world's largest economy by nominal GDP with a diversified economy operating in a free market. She has biggest industries as tourism, international trade, agriculture and aerospace with the major income to the government as income tax and payroll taxes from private individuals... She has a GDP of $21.2 trillion; hence, an advanced country. "China is the second largest economy by nominal GDP. The success in the economic growth of this country is attributed to mixed economy that is incorporated with limited capitalism... "Japan is also the world's biggest creditor with leading public debt ratio. She has the nominal GDP of $1,266.1 billion and GDP per capita of $49,500 with annual growth rate of 1.7% Her major exports include electronic equipment and cars." Umahi further said that most world economies were already innovating machines that do not run on fuel, adding that," the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, adopted a committed approach of moving away from oil to solar, wind, and hydro energy. According to Umahi, "over 50% of the vehicles in Europe are hybrid and Asia is adopting the same thus, electric automobiles have come to stay, which has reduced their dependence on oil." He then said that there had been great opportunities for non oil sectors to grow visibly since 2001, pointing out that the country could develop through creating credit access for small businesses, opportunities for medium -size businesses as well as modernisation in the agricultural sector. "Nigeria must also, develop its textile, tourism and creative industries, as independence of businesses and private sector's participations in economic development would help to boost national economy," he further said. He said that human capital development through education, capacity building and reduction of the involvement of the government in economic production would also resolve the nation's economic problems even as a restructured economy would usher in new jobs, macroeconomic stabilisation, supportive high social standards, fight corruption at all levels and foreign exchange rate improvement, apart from resulting in better coordination between cities, states, governments and cleaner environment. He said his government had invested in agriculture, education, security, environment, industrialisation and entrepreneurship, just as it had also improved human capital development of the people, including improved infrastructural development. Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, said, research in policy and innovations remained the answer to zero oil economy. Igwe urged the Ebonyi State government to collaborate with UNN for effective research output, as the institution would provide research centres and laboratories, including the consultancy units that would guarantee quality research outputs. The Pro-chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Chief Mike Olorunfemi, said that Founders' Day provided an opportunity to re-evaluate the strides and efforts of the university in order to reaffirm her commitment to the ideals of our founding fathers, and take stock of victories and challenges with the goals of the founding fathers as the gauge. "The story of this university is the story of survival. Mocked at first at its establishment, because of the seeming unattainability of an indigenous university and other challenges that confronted it; this university survived. "The result of this effort is a record as far as the history of internally generated revenue in the university is concerned. The university needs every penny it can get to ensure that the demands and obligations are met. "The infrastructural emergency and other deficiencies in our higher institutions of learning have created greater need for increased partnership between the private and public sectors. Universities must seek out these partnerships in order to supplement depleting allocations and funds," he added.

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