29 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, has said only a robust effort at economic diversification would solve the revenue and foreign currency concentration problems facing Nigeria at the moment.
Speaking in Abuja at the 57th annual conference of Nigerian Economic Society (SEC) with the theme, ‘The Developmental State and Diversification of the Nigerian Economy,’ the minister said government must aspire to wean the economy from its overdependence on oil and gas revenues, especially in the face of current crises in the price of crude.
Udoma said, “We must use this crisis to introduce measures that will truly diversify the Nigerian economy by ensuring that the non-oil sector generates enough foreign currency earnings to drive the economy even without any crude oil earnings.”
The minister explained that federal government has been working with State Governments through the National Economic Council, to engender alignment of policies. “We also organized a retreat with them to share ideas, information, and knowledge. We have also been reaching out to the private sector, to the academia, to professional bodies, to civil society and other stakeholders,” he said.
Adding to that, he said the government is currently collaborating with the private sector to launch a “Made in Nigeria” campaign, with the intention of encouraging quality production and massive consumption of Made in Nigeria goods and services.
“We should encourage the branding of Nigerian products by self-regulatory industry bodies such as wine-makers have in France. ‘Made in Nigeria’ should become a badge of quality. As the quality of our goods and services improve, both local and international demand for them will increase,” he said.
According to him, high local demand will give Nigeria producers the platform to explore the export market. “There is no doubt that one of the fastest routes to grow our economy and to create jobs for our teeming population is by pursuing export-led growth. This strategy also holds high promise for adding to our foreign reserves and further stabilizing the Naira,” Udoma said.
“We are convinced that this is capable of delivering desired results and potentials for exports to increase foreign exchange earnings and shore up foreign reserves,” he added.