It is high time we take Diversification serious. This has been suggested by many people for long but it seems nothing is working out. Nigeria has for long depended on earnings from oil exports. However, this makes us vulnerable to changes in prices of oil in world market. This is exactly the situation we face again during this Coronavirus pandemic as there is a reduction in demand for oil and subsequently a reduction In the price for it. This is much worse for a country like Nigeria that depends on oil earnings to fund its budget. For how long can we maintain such a ridiculous mono cultural economy? This is largely the reason for the inability of Nigerian government to effectively procure necessary equipments to fight the novel Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. This is evident in difficulties faced by most states particularly as regards creation of isolation centers and also procurement of necessary equipments like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A country that really wants to develop and be self sufficient must diversify its economy and allow for multiple sources of annual income earnings. Nigerian government needs to take decisive action as regards diversification of its economy. It is a pity that in this 21st century, we still import goods that are supposed to be produced locally from metropole countries. According to Nigerian Bureau of Statitics(NBC), The value of agricultural imports in 2019 was 12.7% higher than in 2018. It is very sad that imports exceeds our exports.
Nigerian government needs take investment in other sectors like Agriculture, tourism etc seriously more than ever. Recently, the National Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) held a webinar meeting with a focus on Nigeria’s deplorable economic condition. Prof. Akin iwayemi made a comment on the Agricultural sector;
"Take holistic view of our production example in Agriculture. Add value to it and not the way it is talked about now. Nobody has evaluated CBN anchor borrowers program. If we don't change our bad behaviour, it becomes an habit"
It is so sad that Nigeria do not produce some local food commodities like sugar,wheat flour,pork,palm oil and others. President Buhari has earlier ordered the closure of border in order to boost local agriculture particularly rice. However, the manufacturing sector should further strengthened by Nigerian government. Local industries should be supported by government particularly as regards closing the technological gap in production. Also, Credits should be given to little or middle scale business in different sectors. Tourism should also be taken seriously. Nigerian government should invest more in tourist centres such as Erin Ijesha Waterfall, Oke Idanre Hill and others. New tourist centres should also be built so as to attract visitors from others countries who would love to see the beauty of our culture. South Africa makes huge money from tourism. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals that tourism is a major source for about 1.5 million jobs in South Africa. Our culture might seem normal to us but foreigners get fascinated with the African culture ranging from speech to dressing, historic sites and others. We could also make enormous money from tourism if given needed attention.
However, Corruption poses genuine difficulties to diversification. Corruption has eaten deep into Nigeria's socio economic and political system. Billions of Naira have been mismanaged and embezzled by self centered Nigerian politicians. Examples abound from many politicians that have looted Nigerian money. For instance, Nigeria's former minister of petroleum, Dieziani Madueke is said to have embezzled more than $20 Billion. Nigerian government needs to strengthen its anti- corruption campaign and prosecute any politician guilty of using his or her office for private or personal gain.
Diversification is the key to robust sustainable development in Nigeria. Without it, Nigeria will continue to witness multifarious problems ranging from poverty to poor health system, illiteracy, economic backwardness and many more.