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Nigeria Has Potential Outside Oil – Emefiele

Nigerian central bank governor Godwin Emefiele in Abuja, Nigeria, in this file photograph dated July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has highlighted Nigeria’s strength in the non-oil sector of the economy, saying that the country has a huge potential in agriculture and solid minerals.

Emefiele also said with Nigeria’s geographical location along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the country was well positioned to be a major player in the global fish market, estimated to be worth over $144 billion.

This is coming as the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has clarified that there was no legislation in Nigeria prohibiting state governments from engaging in mining activities.

Speaking yesterday in Lagos at an Economic Summit organised by the New Telegraph Newspaper with the theme: ‘Nigeria: Beyond The Oil Economy,’ the apex bank governor noted that the attendant ripple effects of the drop in crude oil price is being felt in all the major sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Emefiele, who delivered a keynote address on “Returning Nigeria to the Boom Days: Prospects of a non-oil economy,” further stated that for the summit to be organised by the media had underscored the pointy that all the stakeholders had a role to play in galvanising the productive energies of the people to address the current economic challenges.

He said despite the abundant arable land in the country that is suitable for both cash and food crops, the country spent $956 million, $397 million, $582 million and $592 million in 2015 for the importation of meat, sugar, milk and fish, respectively.

Emefiele, who was represented by a deputy governor of the apex bank, Dr. Sarah Alade, said the country also spent $2.4 billion for rice importation between January 2012 and May 2015.

He identified the non-oil sectors where Nigeria has great potential to include agriculture, solid minerals and creative industry.

“The prospects are great with potentials in agriculture and solid minerals. The country is blessed with abundant arable land capable of supporting the production of wide variety of both cash and food crops.

By its geographical location along the coast of Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria has a huge potential for fish production for domestic need and prospect for export in the global fish market valued at about $144 billion in 2014. In the solid minerals sub-sector, there are at least 44 known minerals, notably gold, iron ore, bitumen and others, which have been identified for commercial production,” he explained.

The apex bank governor also identified Nollywood as another potential earner of huge revenue, saying that Nigeria’s creative industry, driven by Nollywood produces about 50 films weekly and is second to India’s Hollywood.

Also speaking, Fayemi stated that the state governments were free to establish Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to apply for mining licences, stressing that no legislations in the country prohibits the states from mining activities.

“There is no Nigerian legislation known to me, including the overriding legislation – the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that prohibits states from getting involved in the mining sector. I have been accused of engaging in controversial issue when I said it but I have looked at the laws.

I have looked at Section 144 of the Nigerian Constitution. I have looked at Item 39 of the Legislative List and it only talked about the exclusivity of mining as regards the role of the federal government but it never says that state governments cannot establish SPV – their own business that can apply for mining license and if they do, I will sign it,” Fayemi explained.

In his speech, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the country was paying the price because of the past mismanagement of the resources.

According to him, the issue of diversification should have been addressed several years ago, saying that the country’s failure to invest in critical infrastructure was responsible for the excruciating effects of the drop in oil prices.

A former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, in his remarks, stated that when he initiated the concept of ‘Delta Beyond Oil,’ he was called names, stressing that he is happy that the slogan today is ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil.’




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