By Afusat Adeoye
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday said the global falling price of crude oil should be a challenge for Nigeria to devise other means of growing the nation’s economy.
Speaking to members of the Council For New Nigeria (CFNN) when they visited him in his office, Lawan said with appropriate policies and programmes Nigeria has the potentials to grow even without oil.
He said, “We have a challenge of oil price that is not good right now, but what about countries without oil? There are countries that do not have oil and yet they are making progress.
“Maybe this is the time to start thinking of how to take people out of poverty in a country without oil so that we will not say because the oil price has gone down we cannot do anything.
“This is the time for us to come up with strategies that will not make us go back on our reliance on oil even if the price improves.
“Let us think about how we can live as a country without oil. We need to think deeply at this moment. We have every reason not to think of oil again. Let it complement what we are going to achieve without it.
“It will take us a little suffering but there is a price for everything. People survived before oil in the past. Oil just came in and we mismanaged it. I think this is an opportunity for us to do that.”
The Senate President who debunked the notion that Nigeria is rich because of its oil producing status said with the crude oil cost of production of US$30 per barrel, the nation realised only $5 per barrel if it is sold at $35.
He expressed optimism that with the right policies and proper implementation the aim of the Federal Government to take 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years is achievable.
Lawan said the Senate is always ready to partner with any group or organisation that is willing to support the Federal government to realise its ambition on poverty reduction and job creation.
He said there is a need for the government and relevant stakeholders to identify specific projects and programmes that will be used in taking people out of poverty for proper coordination and strict implementation.
Earlier, the leader of CFNN, Senator Abu Ibrahim said the organization was a support group by members of the All Progressive Congres (APC) and was formed to ensure the realisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic agenda.
Ibrahim said a strategic action plan on poverty eradication and job creation by the group was recently submitted to the President for his endorsement.