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Akporeha: Government Should Put Plans In Place To Produce 3m Barrels Of Oil Per Day

What do you think the Federal Government should do about diversifying to non-oil sector, especially with the fear that oil is going into extinction?

The fact that oil only contributes about nine per cent to the GDP while it contributes over 90 per cent of our foreign exchange earnings is a contradiction to what analysts expect of Nigeria. This is because Nigeria is not developing the value chain in the oil and gas industry. If the country had developed the value chain of crude oil, it would have brought more developments as the value chain is enormous.

The way we can develop other sectors is the money from oil. Our advocacy is that Federal Government should put plans in place so that between now and say five to 10 years, Nigeria will be producing up to three million barrels of crude oil per day. The money that you get from the extra one million barrels per day, you can set it aside to do two things; to be invested in renewables as we are moving into energy transition and to be developing other sectors like agribusiness, which is the key that will unlock our development.

If Nigeria can fix the critical missing link in its effort to develop the country’s midstream & downstream gas sector to mobilise funds for the provision of the critical infrastructure for the gas industry and the proceeds used to develop the agribusiness, the road to massive economic revival is near. For effective agribusiness, Nigeria needs a deliberate policy that will do backward integration to develop the value chain.

That is the fastest way to grow the economy. Our take is that we must generate enough money from oil and gas sector to develop other sectors and the fastest sector to develop is the agribusiness sector, which contributes largest to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If we develop that sector, it is going to create a lot of jobs. We need to develop the value chain around the agric sector.

Sir, this is the month of July, 2024. Are your saying that the report for this year projects that the labour market outlook and global unemployment will both worsen?

I am not specific on figure, but the latest report projected that in 2024 an extra two million workers are expected to be looking for jobs, raising the global unemployment rate from 5.1 per cent in 2023 to 5.2 per cent. The report also revealed that disposable incomes have declined in the majority of G20 countries and, generally, the erosion of living standards resulting from inflation is, unlikely to be compensated quickly. But in reality, important differences persist between higher and lower income countries like Nigeria. While the job gap rate in 2023 was 8.2 per cent in high-income countries, it stood at 20.5 per cent in the low-income group like Nigeria.

Similarly, while the 2023 unemployment rate persisted at 4.5 per cent in high-income countries, it was 5.7 per cent in low-income countries, like Nigeria, while working poverty is likely to persist as Nigerians are currently facing, despite quickly declining after 2020, and the number of workers living in extreme poverty, earning less than $2.15 per person per day in purchasing power parity terms, grew by about 1 million in 2023. The report also revealed that the income inequality has also widened, which means the erosion of real disposable income for aggregate demand and a more sustained economic recovery.

Can you please, throw lights on how Nigeria can accelerate the SDGs?

There is an urgent needs for State, Local Governments and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to double their efforts in the quest to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the global community seeks to accelerate the implementation of the Global Agenda in the Decade of Action for the Goals. With the global community lagging behind in the efforts to attain the SDGs and with Nigeria facing various challenges, there is the need for all stakeholders, particularly State and Local Governments, to accelerate progress has become more imperative.

This is because, despite the commitment and efforts as a country, Nigeria is faced with issues and challenges in the desire to achieve the SDGs. This is partly due to the now Triple C Crisis – COVID, Climate Change, and Conflicts, the implementation is off-track globally, and only 15 percent of the SDGs targets are on track as of 2023. Recall that in Nigeria, the Multidimensional Poverty Index Report (2022) shows that about 63 per cent or 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor. The report also shows that poverty levels vary significantly across the states and the geopolitical zones.

The report specifically, revealed that multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72 per cent of people are poor, compared to 42 per cent in urban areas, indicating that 65 percent of poor people live in the North, while 35 per cent live in the South. Recall also that the National Bureau of Statistics’ Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Report (2022) shows that the Under-5 mortality rate, which represents SDG 3.2.1, is 102 per 1,000 live births – with Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, and Jigawa recording the highest, and FCT, Benue, Kwara, and Ebonyi States recording the lowest. I am of the view that institutional frame

Insecurity in Nigeria is a huge challenge and it is doing a lot of harm to the economy

works have been established at the national and sub-national levels to guarantee effective implementation of the SDGs by the government, but demonstrating strong commitment towards the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria requires the sub-national governments to match these efforts, particularly as the tier of government closest to the people.

What is the position of your union on insecurity in Nigeria?

Are your members still exposed to danger in the course of performing their duties? Currently, insecurity in Nigeria is a huge challenge, and it is doing a lot of harm to the economy. We are advocating and urging government to step up the game. This is because to the investors, it would be preferable to go to neighboring countries that are relatively secured instead of investing in Nigeria.

We advocate that government must look at the peculiarities. If Nigeria wants to increase royalties as other countries, the government must create the enabling environment to attract investment. Nigeria is having challenges securing the pipelines, securing the offshore and onshore installations. We are exposed to insecurity. Our road network still does not support a 21st Century economy.

Apart from renewed vigor in the rail system, the rest of our transportation infrastructure belies our developmental aspirations However, as a union we are trying to partner with security agencies and give them all the maximum support they require.

What’s your take home from your trip to this year’s ILC?

Our take home was that government, employer and worker delegates from the ILO’s 187 Member States addressed a wide range of issues, including the protection of workers against biological hazards in the working environment, the care economy and fundamental principles and rights at work. The world leaders call for urgent action to advance social justice at the Inaugural Forum of the Global Coalition for Social Justice In my view, no country can resolve the dilemmas that affect the international society on its own, rather government of various countries need to look for best practices and experiences wherever they are.

I think the Global Coalition will be a central tool for building a transition with social justice, decent work, and poverty eradication.

Labour markets from the International Labour Organization (ILO) annual World Employment and Social Outlook trends report have shown surprising resilience despite deteriorating economic conditions, but recovery from the pandemic that threw the world into unexpected economic turmoil remains uneven as new vulnerabilities and multiple crises are eroding prospects for greater social justice.

The report also finds that both the unemployment rate and the jobs gap rate – which is the number of persons without employment who are interested in finding a job for instance, have fallen below pre-pandemic levels. Recall that the 2023 global unemployment rate stood at 5.1 per cent, a modest improvement from 2022 when it stood at 5.3 per cent and from the report the global jobs gap and labour market participation rates also improved in 2023. However, beneath these numbers economic fragility started to emerge.

 

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