NIGERIA AT 62: WITH ABUNDANT RESOURCES, NIGERIA CAN LEVERAGE ON TO DEVELOPMENT; THE NATION’S ECONOMY CAN BE TURNED AROUND TO MAKE THE COUNTRY A PROSPEROUS NATION – ISARINADE, Ayodeji Felix

Nigeria is a Nation flowing with milk and honey because of its abundant fertility and natural resources which God has blessed it with. No wonder it is recognized as the Giant of Africa. According to the Annual Statistical Bulletin 2022, Nigeria is the most populous country within OPEC with around 218 million inhabitants. Nigeria remains one of those countries in Africa that has a wide variety of different natural resources. Its rich endowment with a variety of Natural Resources ranging from precious metals ,various stones to industrial such as Barites, Gypsum, Kaolin and Marble has always given it a special recognition by other developed Countries. It is very clear that most of these metals and precious stones are yet to be exploited. It has been Statistically shown that the level of exploitation of these minerals is very low in relation to the extent of deposits found in the country.

It is very important that the Federal Government revisit the National policy on solid minerals in order to ensure that the mineral resources of the country are orderly developed and well utilized. As a Nation, Nigeria has been solely dependent on Oil since its discovery in 1956 at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State. This has ultimately prevented the Federal Government from leveraging other Natural resources.

The black shield, the green and white bands on the top of the shield on the Coat of arms of Nigeria which represent Nigeria’s fertile and rich soil respectively, is a testament that Nigeria is also blessed with enormous agricultural resources which if properly tapped and leveraged upon, will turn the Nation’s economy around. Nigeria’s agricultural sector has always contributed immensely to the economy of our Nation but it is quite disheartening that the sector is faced with a plethora of challenges which have had negative impacts on its productivity. Some of these challenges are but not limited to ; limited financing, high production cost , land degradation, post-harvest losses , poor land tenure system, poor distribution of inputs, climate change, lack or low technology, poor access to markets, and low level of irrigation farming. The levels of food sufficiency keep declining due to the rise in population which has made the importation of food to increase. The Federal Government must keep strengthening the initiatives and programmes – Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP), Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP),Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative, which were once implemented to address the challenges that have drawn this sector backward and to increase agricultural productivity in order to provide sufficient quantities of food to meet domestic demand as well as an abundance of commodity crops for export in the international market.

The staple food crops like cassava, yams, corn, coco-yams, cow-peas, beans, sweet potatoes, millet, plantains, bananas, rice, sorghum, and a variety of fruits and vegetables including the leading cash crops such as cocoa, citrus, cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), palm oil, palm kernel, benniseed, and rubber were the Nigeria’s major exports in the1960s and early 1970s until petroleum surpassed them in the 1970s. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Four sub-activities make up the Agricultural sector: Crop Production, Livestock, Forestry and Fishing. The sector grew by 11.55% year-on-year in nominal terms in first Quarter 2022, showing a fall of 3.59% points from the same quarter of 2021 and grew by 1.20 per cent during the second quarter of 2022 in real terms which was lower than the second quarter of 2021 which recorded 1.30 per cent.The agriculture sector contributed 22.36% to overall GDP in real terms in Q1 2022, higher than the contribution in the first quarter of 2021 and lower than the fourth quarter of 2021 which stood at 22.35% and 26.84% respectively. This is a pointer to the fact that the Agriculture sector still has a very long way to go . The federal Government must see to the improvement of agricultural production through the provision of extension services on how farmers should be trained on the use of modern equipment, Provision of adequate storage facilities, introduction of mechanization which will ensure mass production, provision of specialized financial institutions to meet the needs of specific type of agriculture and establishment of more Agriculture Research institutes which will ultimately develop the Nation’s economy.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics Q1 GDP report, the nation in the first quarter of 2022 recorded an average daily oil production of 1.49 million barrels per day (mbpd), lower than the daily average production of 1.72mbpd recorded in the same quarter of 2021 by 0.23mbpd and lower than the fourth quarter 2021 production volume of 1.50mbpd by 0.01mbpd. It is crystal clear that our oil resource is not being well managed even by the Government and those who are saddled with the responsibility of seeing to the development of the Sector. The Oil sector contributed 6.63% to the total real GDP in Q1 2022, down from the figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2021. The number of barrels that are being produced on a daily basis keeps reducing and that is why Nigeria has not been performing as expected in terms of daily Oil production within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) despite being the most populous Country within the Organization. According to the 2021 Statistical Report of World Energy, Nigeria is the 15th largest oil producer in the world and the 1st largest in Africa with Angola being the 2nd . Oil revenues account for about 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

The Oil and gas Sector has always been faced with a plethora of challenges. Below are the two major challenges being encountered by the sector.

i. Pipeline vandalism : This obnoxious action involves intentional destruction of petroleum pipelines with the intention of stealing crude oil and other petroleum products. This action has always resulted in fire outbreaks, environmental pollution, economic losses and petroleum scarcity.

ii. Crude Oil Theft: According to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, out of the 141 million barrels of oil produced in the first quarter of 2022, only about 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals while about 9 million barrels were lost to illegal appropriation of crude or refined oil products from the pipelines of Nigeria oil companies. Crude Oil Theft has greatly affected the Nation economy. This action has made it practically impossible for Oil companies to get total production figures and that’s why their figures most times are based on unconfirmed volume estimates because of dipsticks that are being used to make volume calculations.

The only solution to these problems is adequate security. The Federal Government must strengthen the security architecture of the Nation the most in order to stop the unscrupulous elements who are behind Pipelines vandalism and Crude oil theft.

According to the latest census figures and projections from Trading Economics, the total population in Nigeria was estimated at 206.14 million people in 2020. The size of population of Nigeria along-with its efficiency, educational qualities, productivity, organizational abilities and farsightedness which can be termed Human resources, can always be leveraged on because the attainment of economic development, proper utilization of both natural as well as human resources is very much important. If the Governments at all levels can introduce manpower planning, then the human resources will ultimately be developed .

As Nigeria celebrates her 62nd year since her independence, Nigerian Government must see to its economy growth. Nigeria Citizens must also continue to preach PEACE and harmony because in a Nation where these virtues could not be found, no transformation should be expected in such Nation.

Happy 62nd Independence Day . God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

ISARINADE, Ayodeji Felix
Chairman, Nigerian Youths For Peace Initiative, NYPI, Osun State Chapter.
01/10/2022
08160875503

REFERENCES:

1.Nigeria agriculture, the Encyclopedia of the Nations.

2.Q1 2022 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

3.Q2 2022 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

4.Q1 2021 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

5.Q1 2021 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

6.Statistical Report of World Energy 2021 – BP

7.Crude Oil Production – Trading Economics

8.Q1 2022 Report by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

9.Q1 2021 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

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