LAGOS – Some financial experts on Tuesday in Lagos urged the Federal Government to invest more in mining and sugarcane production as alternative revenue sources that would complement oil revenue.
The experts told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the current drop in oil revenue to the country resulting from decline in global oil price had made it imperative for the government to seek other sources of revenue by diversifying investment.
They said that it was time that the government began to redirect funds to areas where it would derive better comparative advantage.
NAN recalls that the crude oil price had been on the decline, with its latest price at 82 dollars per barrel, thereby causing apprehension in the economy over the 78 dollars per barrel bench mark proposed in the 2015 national budget.
One of the experts and retired director at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Titus Okuroumu, said that financing the budget would not had been an issue if government had given adequate attention to the mining sector.
According to Okuroumu, mining has the capacity to effectively execute the nation’s budget if government supports prospective investors in the sector through workable policies.
“A workable policy will be the game changer, like what is obtainable in South Africa’s mining sector where incentives like access to capital and proper business regulation prevail.
“The sector can generate funds for the government instead of relying solely on earnings from crude oil whose prices have dropped at the international market due to market dynamics,” he said.
Mr Peter Ochueleigbe, a chartered accountant, in his contribution said that sugarcane was another big revenue earner, which if the Federal Government invested in its massive production, could execute its annual budgets.
Ochueleigbe said that investment in sugarcane and its by-products, including ethanol fuel, would earn the country reasonable foreign exchange.
“There are many other agricultural commodities that are begging for attention.
“Nigerians did not have to be afraid due to decline in crude oil sales if agriculture was well exploited,” he said.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Torac Ventures, Mr Chidi Obigbara, said that prudent diversification of the nation’s economic base was the panacea to desired development of the country.
He said that the prevailing situation where entrepreneurs were facing difficulties in accessing funds to grow their businesses would not had arisen if the nation was running a mono-product economy.
Obigbara urged the government to manage the country’s resources prudently. (NAN)