By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”Presi-dent ofÂ the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mrs. Elizabeth Adegbite has called for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, saying failure to do that might lead to the failure of the country achieving its Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
She also warned that failure to diversify the economy would hamper the achievability of the Federal Government 7-point agenda and Vision 20-20/20.
She spoke at the 4th Annual Eastern District Conference 2009 of ICAN held at the Channel View Hotel in Calabar, Cross River State .
The ICAN boss argued that it could be very well be the inability of the country to diversify its economy that may have led to the country being graded as the 80th poorest nation out of 177 countries.
She decried a situation where over 70 million Nigerians live on less than #65 per day.
Addressing the theme of the Conference, â€œGlobal Financial Crisis and the imperatives of diversifying the Nigerian economyâ€,Â Chief Adegbite said it is dangerous for Nigeria to continue to depend only on oil and asked that the country go back to the pre_independence era where the country earned huge revenue from solid minerals, agriculture and others.
Her words: â€œPrior to 1960 when Nigeria got her independence and indeed the early post independence era up to 1965 when oilÂ was first discovered in the country, Nigeria had a diversified economic base, ranging from proundnuts in the north, cocoa in the West, coal in the east and palm oil in the south and Mid West. Today all that has been abandoned for oil.
â€œ Nigeria , which used to be an agrarian nation with diversified revenue base, is now dependent on a mono_product crude oil, which is very volatile in production and earnings level, accounting for more than 90 percent of the nationâ€™s revenue.â€
AlsoÂ speaking, Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Barr. Fidelis Ugbo said on its part the state government has evolved ways to increase its internally generated revenue and has been exploring the Public Private Partnership (PPP) optionÂ to provide some basic infrastructure that will boost the state economy.