Atiku abubakar

Economy

Crash in oil price a good opportunity for Nigeria – Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar – The on going world novel COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly put so many economies in a state of uncertainty.

It’s no doubt that countries who depend solely on crude oil revenue and its deravatives should brace up for the latest world economy hack.

Furtherance to this, former Nigerian vice-president, Atiku Abubakar says the crash in crude oil price is a blessing in disguise for Nigeria.

He said the country should use the current developments in the oil market as an opportunity to wean itself of dependence on oil revenue.

Read also: How to access CBN N50bn COVID-19 intervention loan

The recent crash in oil prices has caused great loss to traders and oil producing countries.

Although Nigeria’s crude oil price is not yet in negative territory, there is great uncertainty in the oil market.

Brent crude currently trades at $25.14 as against $45/$50 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an opinion article on Thursday, Abubakar said he had alerted Nigeria of the impending danger, and called for a strategic reserve for unsold crude.

“As at today, Nigeria is pricing its very low sulphur sweet crude at $10 per barrel, yet buyers are balking. Our sweet crude is becoming a little bitter,” he wrote.

“I had earlier warned that Nigeria needs a Strategic Reserve to store unsold crude. Now, we have so much crude and no one to buy it, nowhere to store it, and little idea what to do with it.

“Barely three years ago, I had also alerted that the “crude thinking” promoted by our dependence on crude oil will lead to a rude shock.

“If you are still talking about oil, you are in the past. As far as I am concerned, the era of oil is gone. If you want to believe it, believe it. If you do not want to believe it, you will see it. It is crude thinking to continue to talk and base development projections on crude oil,” I had said at a public event in the nation’s capital.”

Abubakar, who contested for president in 2019, also said Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil is failing the country and that “now is the time for Nigeria and her contemporaries to cure their addiction to sweet crude”.

“For far too long we have grown high on our own supply, to the extent that we have neglected almost every other sector of our economy,” he said.

“This present rude awakening should be seen as a blessing in disguise – a blessing that compels us to take those drastic actions that will free us from the crude oil trap. We need to diversify our economy, and yes, it is easier said than done, but that does not mean it is an impossible task.

Read also: CBN to commence disbursement of N50bn COVID-19 fund by Thursday

“In Nigeria, our diversification should embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development, because agriculture is a low hanging fruit, is key to ensuring food subsistence, and with the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AFCTA), which favours Nigeria’s economy greatly, Nigeria can take advantage of this to become an agricultural powerhouse in Africa.”

It does not go without saying that Nigeria is long over due to look elsewhere for a major national income aside the crude oil, agriculture is a sure direction to head if forestalling possible economic crisis ahead is anything of great importance to the African giant.

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