By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday warned that Nigeria as a country cannot continue to depend on oil against the backdrop that the wells may dry off one day, just as he emphasized that the removal of fuel subsidy would help stimulate the nation’s economic activities.
The President who noted that the only way to relieve the nation’s pains was deregulation, however warned that if the decision of removing fuel subsidy is not taken, the country would be in crisis and near disintegration.
Speaking yesterday at the 57th National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, President Jonathan explained that with deregulation of the sector, Nigerians would have the opportunity of surviving with or without the government with the diversification of the economy through agriculture and manufacturing adding that the PDP led government was not in any way inflicting plains on Nigerians.
President Jonathan noted that if the prediction of some experts that Nigerian oil reserve would last for 35 years should be taken very seriously, the way out would be to diversify the economy, especially in the area of agriculture and manufacturing,
According to him, “Most of us know that our target is to refocus the economy because we believe that we cannot continue to depend on oil. If the experts are saying that the reserve of oil will last for 35 years, then we need to diversify, especially in the area of agriculture and manufacturing so that our children will not check out of the country.
“Now, the issue is deregulation and people will like to ask why the PDP government is inflicting pains on Nigerians. But, there is no way myself and the governors will inflict pains because we have discussed it over and over and we have agreed that the only way is to resolve the problems and relieve the pains on our people otherwise, this country will enter into a serious crisis.
We have to completely deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry.We are not taking the decision because we want to see Nigerians suffer; but we want to see a situation where more Nigerians will be able to get jobs; the economic activities to be able to be stimulated so people will have opportunity to survive with or without government.