By Yemie Adeoye & Daniel Alfred
DESPITEÂ calls for diversification of the nationâ€™s economy, the federal government has revealed that the economy is still heavily dependent on oil as it currently accounts for about 40 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and well over 80 percent of Nigeriaâ€™s foreign exchange earnings.
This statement was made byÂ the Acting President, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, at the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI),High_level Roundtable, recently in Abuja.
The Acting President further stated that 50 years after oil discovery the promise of oil is yet to be realized, â€œas itsÂ the case with most mineral_rich countries, valuable resources which have not translated to sustained improvements in living standards.â€
According to him, â€œ We have been exporting oil in commercial quantities since 17 February 1958 and we have been one of the worldâ€™s leading oil exporters since the 1970s. On that note,Â Nigeria is sub_Saharan Africaâ€™s largest oil producer with reserve levels that far exceed those of our neighbours, and the eleventh largest producer globally.
Nigeriaâ€™s international importance arises from its high quality crude, accessibility to Western markets, continuing exploration potential, and absence of resource nationalisation trend that are evident in other oil_producing states.â€ he said.
He added, â€œTo restructure for greater efficiency and effectiveness, and to achieve sustainable political and socio_economic growth, imperative reforms have been introduced over the past few years, which have improved transparency and governance.
The government adopted a two_pronged approach, embedding anticorruption measures in a comprehensive economic reform programme, and conducting analytical studies to identify specific areas in which corruption was undermining public sector performance and growth.â€
â€œTo combat the â€œresource curseâ€ and ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, the government opened up oil and gas revenues to greater scrutiny by signing on to implement the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (EITI) principles with a formal launch in February 2004.
The first National Stakeholder Working Group (NSWG), with representatives from civil society, industry, federal and state governments, was inaugurated to spearhead the implementation of EITI in Nigeria and a Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC) was also established in June 2005, to consult with the NSWG on EITI implementation.â€ He said.