The Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala just called Nigerian “Non-Oil Country”!! It’s a surprising statement coming from a Minster of Finance considering the crucial role oil plays in the Nigerian economy. Oil like many have said, makes up between 75% and 85% of Government revenue and its international price is the benchmark upon which the Federal and State Budgets depend. So why did she say we are a ‘non-oil country”. The answer is in how she said it
“We have a budget expenditure of about N4.3 trillion, revenues of N3.6 trillion. We have tried to make up for the drop from the $78 per barrel to $65 by raising non-oil revenues. This budget points to the fact that this country is a non-oil country and I think we want Nigerians to begin to think of the country in that way. We have worked very hard with the guidance of Mr. President to move on non-oil revenue. We have closed many loopholes and leakages. We have tried to broaden the tax base. We have closed some exemptions, all of this will bring additional revenues into coffers”
So, its has now taken the volatile nature of oil prices to make the government realise that Nigeria is not an Oil Country . The irony here is that, rather than telling the ordinary citizens of Nigeria, the government and their lopsided overheads are the ones who ought to know that we are indeed not an Oil country. Many Nigerians already know that which is why Oil is not even up to 15% of our Gross Domestic product. Nigerians have for years relied on Agriculture and trading to survive. It is the government who relies on Oil revenue not us. How can a country that supplies less than 2.5million barrels per day of oil and generates less than N3trillion from it claim to be an Oil Country?
If she is indeed serious about Nigeria not being an Oil Country, then I suggest she begins with clamouring for a privatization of NNPC.