Okowa’s Call For Economic Diversification

Recently at a dinner he held for members of the Presidential
Economic Diversification Initiative Team in Asaba, Delta
State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, called for the effective
diversification of the nation’s. He said that the necessity for the effective
diversification had been made more apt and poignant by the persisting
recession that has harmed Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and
jeopardised the capacity of groups, organisations, institutions and
individuals to meet some of their otherwise vital obligations and
commitments.
We agree with the governor on the strategic import of his call. For
one, the call is significant on account of its timeliness. In the light of
the crushing effects of recession on the financial virility of individuals,
groups and corporate establishments, the call by Governor Okowa
could not have been more timely. In this sense, it is appropriate that,
against the backdrop of the recession and its huge horrible effects on
disposable income of all and sundry, the search for an effective end
to the economic downturn is begun in earnest not only to abate the
current incident, but also to avoid a repeat, both in the medium and
the long terms.
Okowa’s call is equally apt in the light of the special audience it
targeted the Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative Team.
Coming from the helmsman of a strategic state as Delta and targeted
at the privileged committee members, the call reinforces the essence
of the committee’s visit and the import of their critical assignment.
In one other way, too, the governor’s call is equally apt, coming from
a man who, since his inauguration into office on May 29, 2015, has
spared no efforts in the proactive pursuit of an economic diversification
strategy. It is instructive to recall, here, for instance, that, in its
dogged pursuit of this goal, the Okowa administration has not only
re-kitted the state ‘s six technical colleges to resolve the syndrome
of skill deficiency in school products that has largely accounted for
unemployment among them, but has also remodelled the public
vocational skills centres across the state for more effective exercise
of their mandate and established a comprehensive Job Creation Office
that has now trained thousands of youths in sundry fields of agriculture
and other skill genres.
The administration has also significantly supported farmers to
expand their holdings with cash, technical skills and other inputs and
created the enabling environment for the sprouting and flourish of
many new holdings, including the Okowa Fish Farmers and Okowa
House To House Cooperative Society that is now into active commercial
rice farming in and around Ugiliamai.
Evidently, the effective diversification of the economy, such as
advocated by Governor Okowa, has many beneficial effects. Aside of
ending Nigeria’s romance with the poor tradition of a monoculture
economy which runs on the wheels of a turbulent commodity as crude
oil, it could also recreate agriculture, which is strategic for its capacity
for food supplies, wealth and job creation as well feeding industries
with required raw materials.
Outside of agriculture, effective diversification in strategic areas as
the steel sector and engineering and the sciences can also, aside of
creating jobs and wealth, help the cause of the country’s technological
advancement, which clear lack, evidently, has largely been at the heart
Of factors responsible for Nigeria’s low overall development.
The diversification of the economy, aside all else, can also help in
the more efficient harnessing of the many natural resources, the still
mysterious neglect of which has been part of Nigeria’s economic
Achilles heels. For instance, the more effective harnessing of the
country’s huge gas reserves, will not only earn the country more
money and create more jobs, but will equally help end the shameful
flaring of the resource and end the infamy which Nigeria has acquired
on that account.
Ending gas flaring, will, in addition, trigger the health benefits
associated with the cessation of the huge potential which it has on
predisposing people in its proximate areas to health challenges arising
from dangerous gases, including Lead and sulphur, both of which
exist in natural gas and are regularly cited in carcinogenic health
situations.
Beyond all else, meaningful economic diversification can help attain a
higher level of social and political stability in the country by significantly
whittling the tempo of social and psychological angst which an unstable
economy can trigger and sustain in the population.
The time to begin the meaningful search for a truly wholesome
economy through effective and sustainable diversification is now.
Okowa’s timely advice should be the wakeup call in this respect. This
is our concviction.
BOSAH