The African Development Bank (AfDB) has charged the Nigerian government to urgently diversify its economy to enhance economic growth and development.
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Oyelaran-Oyeyinka Oyebanji, senior special adviser on Industrialisation, AFDB, stated this in Okada, Edo state where he delivered a lecture at the 22nd Founder’s Day held at the Igbinedion University.
According to Oyebanji, industries established in the early post-independence Nigeria had become moribund while the nation’s over-reliance on the monolithic economy of petroleum exportation has exposed it to economic danger especially the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that crashed crude oil prices in the international market.
He pointed out that the South Korean economy, which was on the same footing with Nigeria’s in the 1960s in spite of being non-resource based, had performed incredibly strong through export diversification whereas Nigeria hardly diversified but got locked-in into petroleum export for export earnings to the detriment of value-added agriculture and manufactures.
The result, he noted, is the low contribution of the manufacturing sub-sector, which fluctuates between 5 per cent to 8 per cent to aggregate output in Nigeria compared with its peers in Asia.
He called on the government to invest in infrastructure for successful diversification, stressing that the country’s estimated infrastructure deficit stands at $100 billion annually.
He thereafter stated that for Nigeria to attain long-term recovery and sustainable development,an urgent economic diversification and favourable response to the emerging challenges of the 21st century needs to be actualised.