From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Senator representing Kogi West, Senator Smart Adeyemi has lamented over crash in crude oil prices and the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic which has together posed what could be an existential threat for Africa’s largest economy and biggest crude producer.
Adeyemi who spoke with newsmen in Lokoja over the sad development, said Nigeria, as a country of 200 million people, is slashing production faster than any other major oil economy following the precipitous plunge in global prices, adding that cargo ships full of millions of barrels of Nigerian crude have nowhere to go, with much of the world on lockdown.
He said that Nigerian oil companies are desperately competing to fill the last few empty tankers still left at sea, while naira is still a classic petrocurrency whose fate remains intrinsically tied to global oil prices, at least without a seismic shift in economic structure.
According to the distinguished senator, the Covid-19 global pandemic brought the price of oil in the global market to the lowest ebbs, the Nigerian economy is at the near collapse and the stance by Nigeria’s key economic actors to defend the naira will likely be tested by deliberate and strategic economic diversification policies of the country.
“I blamed the dwindling economy on the leaders who did not do anything to diversify the economy when the oil price was still high, they were busy enjoying the money as it comes, buying luxury cars and building mansions in cities around the world without caring about the future.
“There was no construction of road or rail lines because the people in government then, squandered the resources leaving the country with infrastructural deficits.
“I pity president Muhammadu Buhari, and his administration now that oil is now selling at $22 or $30 per barrel. When we were asking the government of the day at that time, to diversify the economy at the time oil was selling at $100 to $150, that party, squandered our resources,”
Adeyemi noted that corruption has been the single greatest obstacle preventing Nigeria from achieving its enormous potential saying that it drains billions of dollars a year from the country’s economy, stymies development, and weakens the social contract between the government and its people.
“Going by the economic reality of the moment, the only way to recover the economy is diversifying the economy and possibly enforce property tax
“Those living in mansions should pay property tax to save the country’s economy, the time has come for those who drive in exotic cars, SUV cars to pay property tax to the government to help salvage the economy from total collapse” Adeyemi affirmed.