Me I am shaking my head vigorously, this will not work. The President cannot retain the Petroleum Ministry for himself. I know the reasons may not be self serving especially if you take into cognizance the systemic corruption that had bedeviled that sector. This in my mind still does not justify the President making himself the Petroleum Minister.
The issues that pervade that sector go beyond that of corruption. In fact, blocking the leakages, looking for lost and stolen funds make up less than 10% of the issues in that sector. The other issues include oil glut, shale oil, pricing, the increasing irrelevance of OPEC in world oil dynamics and its interplay in global economy amongst others.
What I see is a defensive policy that would guard against theft but when the money is not coming how will you stop it from being stolen. My Oga, there is nothing to steal again.
Instead of concentrating on the Petroluem industry with this outdated strongman tactics, energy should be concentrated on diversifying the economy, opening it up some more, encourage other sectors like agriculture, creative industry, services and manufacturing in a bid to get them to shore up the inflow of forex hence mitigating the losses we are currently suffering in low oil prices.
I have always expressed my fear especially with the posturing of this government with its stated stance on corruption and change. Yes, it is brilliant that corruption is fought and extinguished, yes it is also perfect that we must be frugal especially at this time and hold down on costs, but what I have failed to see in the much vaunted body language is its ability to liberalize the economy, open it up more for private Investment so that enterprise would be running on its own steam without having to depend on oil and government for its sustenance.
The President should keep the Ministry of Agriculture which is the largest employer of Labour or the Ministry of Commerce for himself and not the Petroluem Ministry. This will send a strong signal to all stakeholders that we mean business when it comes to opening up of other sources of earnings for the economy.
This decision shows a clear lack of understanding of the diminishing importance of oil in the global space and the growing strength of technology and commerce.
The Indian and Chinese economies are being fueled by technology and trade not Oil. We have all the resources both human and material to overtake these countries in those areas if only we can show seriousness in these pursuits. It’s our deep pool of human capacity which represents to the investors both a factor of Labour and markets that keeps these investors and shows that we can achieve strong growth indices especially in agriculture if not in technology in the short term.
So my Oga, leave the Petroleum Ministry. The oil age is over and let’s see some dynamic policies that would harness the hidden potentials of these two mentioned sectors. The figures are huge and we have not even scratched the surface.
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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