Buhari says Nigeria’s dependence on oil was a costly mistake

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari  REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

*Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

…Touts government’s economic diversification efforts

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

26 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday chided previous administrations in the country for depending on oil as the sole mainstay of the economy without diversification, noting that that was the reason the country was in the present economic mess.

He added that the country was in for the worst times for failing to save or diversify its economy, which has been greatly affected by the crash of oil prices in recent months.

Buhari, who was speaking while bidding the outgoing Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Saeed Koozechi farewell in Abuja, said he was convinced that with greater diligence, hard work and patriotic determination, Nigeria would now achieve self-sufficiency in most of the goods on its import list.

He added that his administration was vigorously pursuing the diversification project as a way to wean the nation off of dependence on crude oil.

He said that “We made a terrible mistake by becoming a mono-product economy hinged on oil and we are now in a volatile situation, due to the crash in oil prices. We have seen the benefits of diversification which helped Iran to survive many years of sanctions and still come out strong.

“We are now fully committed to economic diversification. Most of the things on our import bills can be produced here. And we are determined to achieve that self-dependency,” he added.

Also speaking at a separate audience with the outgoing Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, President Buhari assured that the Federal Government would strive to meet its obligations under bilateral agreements with China for the development of critical infrastructure in Nigeria.

He said that the administration would uphold contractual agreements with Chinese companies for the development of essential infrastructure which it inherited from past administrations, assuring that the projects would be speedily completed.

The President also reiterated his commitment to the completion of the Mambilla Power Project which, he said, was of great strategic importance to his government’s efforts to ensure that Nigeria does not become over-reliant on gas-powered electricity generation.

He commended the outgoing ambassadors for their efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure in Abuja even as he wished them well in their future endeavours.

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