Saturday, September 12

NEXIM boss wants Nigeria's oil to dry up

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Import Bank, Mr. Roberts Orya, on Saturday said he wants Nigeria’s oil to dry up.

According to him, until the country’s crude oil dries up, Nigeria may not harness the resources in other sectors of the economy.

This, the NEXIM bank boss said, was why he decided not to finance investors in the oil sector, stressing that the industry contributed less to the nation’s gross domestic product when compared to what the real sector contributes.

Orya spoke to journalists on the sidelines of an event organised by Lonadek tagged, ‘Business Talk in Summer,’ held in Abuja.

Asked to state why he said the country’s oil should dry up, Orya replied, “If we don’t have oil in this country, this country would have been a very great country. Why I said so is because, in the first place, it was what we got from agriculture that we used in exploring for oil in the 1960s.

“And when we got this oil, what were we supposed to do? We are supposed to have used the proceeds from it to develop agriculture and some other non oil sectors. But we have not done that. And because we get easy revenue from oil, Nigerians have become very lazy; we’ve become consumers. Nobody is into production because oil is easy.

“If oil dries up, because of the potentials we have in the non-oil sectors, there will be considerable changes. How many Nigerians are employed or involved in the oil sector despite the fact that 95 per cent of our export revenues come from oil and 70 per cent makes up the revenue of the government?”

He argued that revenue from the oil sector should have been used to develop the non-oil sectors, stressing that the non-oil industry determines the rate of growth in the economy, not oil.

“What is the percentage of the oil sector to our GDP now?” he asked.

He also said, “But if we have used that money to develop agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals and others, then we would have boosted our GDP. Right now we say we have identified 34 solid minerals in commercial quantities, but as we are standing here, the solid minerals sector is contributing less than one per cent to the GDP. In fact, it is actually 0.9 per cent. What does that tells us?

“It tells us that we have trillions of Naira that are inside the ground and nobody is looking at it because we have easy revenue from oil. So that is why I say if oil should dry up in this economy, Nigeria is going to be better for it because of the huge potentials we have in other sectors.”

On how his bank was helping in improving the non-oil sector, he said, “That is why I don’t touch oil. In my financing I don’t touch oil. I am only concerned with non-oil export. I’m talking about financing the manufacturing sector, agro-processing, etc. I want a situation where I will stop financing raw agricultural commodities to other countries.

“Let us add value, let us create jobs here, because when I finance raw agricultural commodities, I’m exporting jobs and opportunities to other countries, but I am not doing that.”

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