President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of most items currently on the nation’s import list.
The President believes that such feat would further diversify the economy, something he said his administration was fully committed and determined to do.
He said his government would do all within its powers to achieve the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy in the shortest possible time.
Nigeria depends largely on crude oil sales as source of revenue, but the government is looking at shifting focus back to agriculture which had been the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of crude and solid minerals that are lying untapped.
At a farewell audience with the outgoing Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Saeed Koozechi, President Buhari said he was convinced that with greater diligence, hard work and patriotic determination to achieve self-sufficiency, Nigeria could produce most of the items currently on its import list.
“We made a terrible mistake by becoming a mono-product economy hinged on oil and we are now in a volatile situation, due to the crash in oil prices.
“We have seen the benefits of diversification which helped Iran to survive many years of sanctions and still come out strong.
“We are now fully committed to economic diversification. Most of the things on our import bills can be produced here. And we are determined to achieve that self-dependency,” President Buhari told the outgoing envoy.
At a separate audience with the outgoing Chinese Ambassador, Mr Gu Xiaojie, President Buhari gave an assurance that the Federal Government would continue to do its best to meet its obligations under bilateral agreements with China for the development of critical infrastructure in Nigeria.
The President said that because of their importance to Nigeria, his administration would uphold contractual agreements with Chinese companies for the development of essential infrastructure which it inherited from past administrations, and work to ensure that the projects are speedily completed.
The President reiterated his particular commitment to the completion of the Mambilla Power Project which, he said, was of great strategic importance to his government’s efforts to ensure that Nigeria does not become over-reliant on gas-powered electricity generation.
President Buhari commended the outgoing ambassadors for their efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure in Abuja.
He wished them well in their future endeavours.