- Tasks Nigeria on economic diversification
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has expressed worries that the Dangote refinery currently under construction, is in danger of an imminent decline contrary to robust expectations, as a result of the gradual global shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy consumption.
Okonjo-Iweala, who made the observation while addressing newsmen following a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, lauded Aliko Dangote for his efforts towards establishing the refinery project, which is set to become the largest single-train refinery in the world, adding that if the refinery had commenced operations years earlier, Nigeria would currently be able to have its own oil refined locally in large volumes rather than having to import the refined product.
She however asserted that the refinery’s years of relevance is likely to be affected by the fact that the world is moving away from fossil fuels and gas to focus on alternative sources, a move she considered unfavourable to the sustenance of the refinery project in later years.
“We have to start looking at the horizon where many countries are now moving to electric cars and many developed countries where cars are manufactured or not, have said that from 2025 and on, they are banning cars that use petrol,” she stated.
Nigeria, she warned, would be running into an economic crisis in the nearest future if the country does not start diversifying from its reliance on oil. She added that the country has to urgently begin setting up strategic plans towards the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energies as most countries of the world are already giving timelines banning use of equipment, including cars, using fossil fuels.
She suggested that Nigeria needs to begin to focus on diversifying its economy, improving its standing in trade and adding value to its products, especially agriculture, where it will be able to create jobs and earn foreign exchange.
“If we don’t start now, we will find ourselves at the end of a couple of decades with no way of being able to make additional foreign exchange for some of the products we need,” she said.