By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, representing Lagos East Senatorial District has said Nigeria has to seek alternatives to its oil revenue.
The lawmaker said this on Friday at the sideline of the Ikorodu Chamber of commerce and Industry 15th business luncheon while answering questions from journalists.
Senator Tokunbo described the event themed “The Perspective and Strategies for Trade and Industry: The Required Government Policies For Nigeria Economy Post-Pandemic as an assessment of the economic situation in the country over the last two years, especially during the pandemic.
“I think there should be an assessment as to how we fared during the pandemic and it is important we know how we make ourselves competitive as the theme of the event centers around trade and industry.
“We know what had happened and how trade had seriously been affected during the pandemic. Essentially, it is a wake-up call because during the pandemic the trade position of the country experienced a lot of deficit.
“As we all know, oil is a major source of revenue for us so in terms of receipt, government revenue was seriously affected because the pandemic was a problem for the whole world so demand for oil dropped.
“Thankfully, it is picking up again. However, it is a reflection for us to be more curious and look for alternatives to the oil revenue.
“Similarly, we need to work on our infrastructural deficit because it is the only way we can remain competitive particularly when you look at our agriculture. As much as it provides employment, its real value to our GDP is still suboptimal so we need to make sure that we mechanize and add value to our processing so that actual value can be derived.
“Areas infrastructure are picking up in terms of road, and others, you can see what is happening in terms of ICT so we need to focus more on those areas to make ease of doing business very appealing to investors.”
Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Dr. Muda Yusuf who was the guest speaker at the event said harped on exploring opportunities created by the pandemic especially technology-wise.
He noted that demand for digital solutions has increased boosting investment like ICT infrastructure, E-Commerce, Big data among others.
Dr. Yusuf also harped on monetary and fiscal policies to stimulate the economy post-pandemic. He recommended aggressive developmental finance intervention by the CBN – interest rate reduction, restructuring opportunities and moratorium on CBN facilities.
The DG also emphasised the need to support local production, promote ease of doing business, rationalize MDAs to reduce the cost of governance among others.