By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria made a costly mistake by depending on oil as the sole mainstay of the economy without diversification.
The president said that the country was in for the worst times for failing to save or diversifying its economy, which he said, has been greatly affected by the crash of oil prices.
Speaking while bidding the outgoing Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Saeed Koozechi, farewell in Abuja, President Buhari said he was convinced that with greater diligence, hard work and patriotic determination, Nigeria would now achieve self-sufficiency in most of the goods on its import list.
According to him, his administration is vigorously pursuing the diversification project.
“We made a terrible mistake by becoming a mono-product economy hinged on oil and we are now in a volatile situation, due to the crash in oil prices.
“We have seen the benefits of diversification which helped Iran to survive many years of sanctions and still come out strong.
“We are now fully committed to economic diversification. Most of the things on our import bills can be produced here. And we are determined to achieve that self-dependency,” he said.
At a separate audience with the outgoing Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, President Buhari gave an assurance that the Federal Government would strive to meet its obligations under bilateral agreements with China for the development of critical infrastructure in Nigeria.
He said that the administration would uphold contractual agreements with Chinese companies for the development of essential infrastructure which it inherited from past administrations, assuring that the projects would be speedily completed.
The President also reiterated his commitment to the completion of the Mambilla Power Project which, he said, was of great strategic importance to his government’s efforts to ensure that Nigeria does not become over-reliant on gas-powered electricity generation.
He commended the outgoing ambassadors for their efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure in Abuja even as he wished them well in their future endeavours.