Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says Nigeria needs revenue from crude oil to diversify its economy.
In a statement issued by Akpandem James, his media aide, on Thursday, the minister said the country’s immediate priority was to get oil production output back to the desired level to secure revenue needed to diversify the economy.
He told the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional director for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that “although the country is focused on diversification of its economy, it needs oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy”.
He explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.
While exploring a number of engagements that would ensure the return of normal production activities in the region, Udoma said government was intensely focused on a long term economic agenda that would ensure sustainable economic growth and development.
He also briefed the visiting UNDP regional director on the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) that is currently being finalised by the federal government.
Her acknowledged the support of the UNDP, particularly in the area of technical assistance, including capacity building and the humanitarian situation in the northeast.
In his response, Deiye expressed delight that the ministry of budget and national planning was given the coordinating role of the situation in the northeast and indicated the UNDP’s willingness to support the ministry to ensure success in its defined goals.
He said UNDP was aware of the current complexity of the situation in Nigeria, particularly with respect to the security challenges and the oil price collapse, stating that the fall in oil price which is the country’s main source of revenue had also affected budget implementation.
Despite these challenges, he acknowledged that Nigeria still remains the largest economy in Africa.