Fayemi: Nigeria should prepare for future without oil

Kayode Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, has warned Nigeria to be prepared for a future without oil and diversify its economy. He stated this when he delivered a speech at the 3rd Chief (Dr) John Agboola Odeyemi annual lecure in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria on Friday 29, April 2016

According to Fayemi: “We are now facing a future in which crude oil either ceases to be a strategic resource or one in which our status as a producer becomes irrelevant to our prospects for economic advancement within the international economic environment.”

He added that we live live in a world in which new technologies, such as fracking, have unleashed a dynamic of resource abundance rather than resource scarcity and which is resulting in less power concentrated in the hands of a few suppliers. Previously import-dependent consumers like the US are, according to him, increasingly on the cusp of energy self-sufficiency.

He added that by 2013, the US, a major importer of Nigerian crude, had already reduced the importation of Nigerian oil to 300, 000 barrels from 1.1 million. In 2014 that figure plunged to zero. Even before this technological shift occurred, Fayemi argued that Nigeria had already ceased to be Sub-Saharan Africa’s sole energy power house. New players like Ghana, Kenya and Liberia have emerged to add to the competition in the market.

Fayemi said further: ” One fact that we must accept is that oil wealth has made us lazy and unimaginative given the bountiful resources with which Nigeria is blessed. As the minister in charge of the solid minerals sector, I am in a position to offer insights into what I believe to be Nigeria’s next frontier of opportunity. Our fixation on crude oil has blinded us to the immense scale of riches we have in this sector and their potential to power a new age of economic

“Nigeria’s natural resource portfolio has at least 44 known mineral assets that include precious minerals, base metals, bulk minerals and what are known as rare earth minerals. More specifically, our most promising mineral assets include gold, iron ore, barite, bitumen, lead, zinc, tin and coal. We have good reason to believe that the available data of our reserves understates what our country has been blessed with by providence in many instances. For one thing, some of the geosciences data collected 50 years ago or earlier have not been updated, so we are cautiously optimistic that our mineral endowments actually exceed what is currently stated.

Expect the full speech.