As quickly as the world is evolving, it is almost sad that the Nigerian dependence on oil as its sole revenue means has remained static and unchanging. The question is, what is Nigeria’s future beyond oil, A very apparent answer would appear to be agriculture, but has the Nigerian economic existence shown any sign of willingness to move from its typical oil driven thrust to other otherwise neglected aspects.
It is even more depressing to know that the rising attractiveness and decreasing cost of producing electric cars may end the high demand for oil. With some of the world’s most developed nations considering a ban on the sale of gasoline-powered cars, what is in store for an oil dependent Nigeria?
Nations that command greater influence in world affairs maintain a reasonable control of their economy. That means control of factors of production and industries which are the backbone of any meaningful economic development in a nation. When there is technological backwardness as experienced in Nigeria with a consequential economic underdevelopment, policy makers need to interrogate and put into focus underlying reasons why the nation is drifting.
With all this noted, it is very evident that oil will become more and more irrelevant as time rolls by, what then should the Nigerian policy makers have as backup plans for the coming decades.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources. Despite availability of abundant natural resources and huge revenue generated from the sale of oil and gas, Nigeria’s economy has not significantly responded to the pressures of demand from over 180 million people. This is an indication that wealth without an active manufacturing sector has its limits. As more countries plan to ban the use of petrol cars, industry watchers say this could spell doom for Nigeria whose economy is heavily dependent on sale of crude oil in the international market.
Nigeria’s economy is not beyond redemption provided those in government remain focused. Research findings have shown however, that natural resource endowments do not inevitably inhibit economic growth. On the contrary, countries can grow and prosper by adding value to their natural resources in almost all sectors of the economy before they are exported and by building the capacity of Medium and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to compete effectively in the knowledge-intensive segments of the natural resource value chain.
To escape the natural resource curse, Nigeria has to build appropriate technological capacity so that local firms have the ability to produce and export more knowledge-intensive goods and services with workers having the skills to perform more complex tasks. Improving the supply of skilled workers through sound educational system and training programs that are pro-industry are prerequisites for the success of any innovative initiative.
With all these stated, we have been able to establish that there is an urgent need for the Nigerian government to make provisions for a functioning economy that has little or no dependence on oil.