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Reps want shift in focus to non-oil sector to boost economic growth, security

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to shift focus to the non-oil sector,  to further grow the country’s economy and improve the nation’s security situation.Rep.  Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said this on Monday, in Abuja, a public hearing on the need for Nigeria to develop a long-term social economic framework. 

Organised by the House Committee on National Planning and Economic Development, the hearing was also to consider the need to make adequate plans for a post-oil economy in Nigeria, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Tobi Okechukwu, said the move to shift attention from oil was meant to secure the future of the country.

He stressed that the escalating trend of insecurity made it imperative to look away from oil, adding that such a move would help the well-being of the citizenry.

The speaker added that the era of oil dependent economy was over, noting that Nigeria was currently at the mercy of global fluctuations in the prices of oil.He said that Nigeria must be resolute in confronting the challenges of oil dependency, adding that the country must be in a haste to pay necessary attention to other sectors.

Mr Clem Agba, Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, said the Federal Government was currently developing a long-term economic sustainability plan for the country.

In addition, he added that government was also developing a medium term plan, as part of the nation’s vision to shift focus from being an oil dependent economy.

The minister said  the country had a binding constraint that prevented her from realising her economic aspirations, explaining that Nigeria had the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite being the highest oil producer in Africa.

“Nigeria seems to benefit from a large population and planning for the future is inevitable, the budget must, therefore, flow from the plan, it is not the budget that should come first but the plan,” he said.

He said the ministry was equally developing a national development plan that would involve the three tiers of government, as well as the three arms of government.

Agba said the digital sector was contributing more than the oil sector, while Agriculture was contributing 20 per cent to the economy, hence, attention must of necessity be shifted to those sectors.Rep. Abdulganiyu Olododo, Chairman, National planning and Economic Development committee, said since 2019 to date it had been very turbulent for the country, in terms of economic growth.

He said  the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,  coupled with the global economic melt down were enough to open the country’s eyes to shift focus from being an oil dependent economy.

Olododo expressed the readiness of the House  to work with the ministry of budget and economic planning in its quest to shift focus from the present oil dominated.

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