Nigeria now earns more foreign exchange from non-oil and gas exports, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has revealed.
Osinbajo made this disclosure at the 51st annual international conference/annual general meeting of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSCHE), themed “Chemical engineering and the changing world” held in Lagos.
He said that the Federal Government had made tremendous success in its bid to successfully diversify Nigeria’s economy from being dependent on oil and gas revenue.
The government has worked tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria achieves full economic diversification and is not caught napping as crude oil and gas are no longer the major drivers of global economies, because the more technologically advanced nations of the world have switched to clean and renewable energy.
Represented by the Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Osinbajo said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is preparing Nigeria to meet these challenges posed by the changing world and get the nation to occupy her rightful place in the comity of nations.
“Many countries on different continents are now preparing themselves to depend less on fossil fuels. Electric cars are found on roads and streets of many of the technologically developed countries of the world. This has sent a clear signal and a strong message that fossil fuels will not be as important as they are in the years to come. Our nation must prepare for a future where crude oil, which has for long been our major source of revenue, will no longer occupy its prominent position in the economies of many nations,” he said.
The vice president further urged Nigerian manufacturing stakeholders to produce almost everything needed in the country, as this will lead to less exports, a stronger naira and a stronger economy, He called on chemical engineers, whom he described as “process engineers”, to be at the centre of the drive towards a self-reliant Nigeria.
“As process engineers, you will add value to our numerous raw materials, converting them into products. The nation needs you to achieve food security, produce enough water for human consumption, use in agriculture and industry; provide shelter for our people, clothe both the old and the young, solve our energy and transportation problems, provide drugs and medical equipment for our health care and provide necessary equipment to help us secure our nation,” he added.
The vice president urged participants (mostly chemical engineers) to continuously revise their academic curriculum, to train and prepare chemical engineers for the next decade and, indeed, the next century. This, he added, is the best way to ensure that Nigeria fights and defeats extreme poverty.
He assured the general public and participants of the FG’s unrelenting zeal to work closely and support their role towards nation-building.
Earlier, in a goodwill message by the executive governor of Ogun State, Chief Dapo Abiodun – represented by Hon. Gbenga Dairo, the state commissioner for transportation – commended the choice of the theme of the 51st annual conference as “apt, relevant and pertinent”.
The governor confessed that he is proud that members of the society of engineers across various disciplines constitute one-fifth of his cabinet and are contributing immensely to the formulation and implementation of policies on economic growth and sustainable development in the state and in Nigeria.