The market slump of crude oil price due to the global outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic is a wake up call for Nigeria to look towards a life without oil, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said.
This, according to him, would require bold policy changes to restructure the country’s mono-product economy.
Speaking as Guest of Honour at the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, 1970 Set, Senator Omo-Agege also called on the old students to fashion out creative solutions to the challenges confronting the country.
He said: “The recent global outbreak of the COVID-19… obviously poses peculiar challenges, not only for personal health, but also for the economy and business. As we have seen already in the global oil and foreign exchange markets, these are frightening challenges that we must solve.
“Although the present administration has taken bold measures to stave off the outbreak from our shores, I am sure this global threat remains in the mind of every one of us here.
“We need to deal with the sharp drop in global oil prices and its impact on the 2020 budget and the exchange rate, and by implication, on the short, medium and long-term health of the economy.
“We will get through this, but it is going to require, more than anything else, bold policy changes to restructure the economy because it is still too dependent on crude oil.
“And this would necessitate some drastic changes in our ways of life. It will not be easy. I am very optimistic however, that we can do it. And my optimism about Nigeria going forward is in part because we have people like you who have the discipline associated with your Alma Mata”.
Recall that, last week, the Senate constituted a joint committee on Finance, National Planning and Appropriation to engage relevant federal ministries on the recent oil price crash.
This followed a Point of Order raised by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya.
The Delta Central lawmaker, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, revealed that the panel would soon receive memoranda from Nigerians on the Fifth Alteration of the 1999 Constitution.
“I am glad to inform you that the 9th National Assembly has boldly taken up the gauntlet. Electoral reforms, Petroleum Industry Bill and reforms in the budgeting process are of special interest to the National Assembly.
“Recently, a Constitutional Review Committee of which I am honoured to be Chairman was set up by the 9th Senate. We have begun work on this important national assignment. How far-reaching this will be, depends on all of us. Soon, we will be having public hearings, as well as receiving memoranda. It is my hope that you will avail us your experience in this regard,” he stated.
He therefore called for support for the ongoing reforms of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth for Nigerians.