Prof. Sylvain Boko, Head, Development of Planning and Statistics Cluster, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says the commission will continue to support Nigeria to implement policies that will engender economic development .
Boko, who is also the Principal Regional Advisor of ECA, said this in an interview with in Abuja.
“One of the focus areas that Nigeria has been looking at is the diversification of the economy away from the reliance on the oil sector.”
“The recent massive drop in oil prices in the international market has affected the availability of resources in Nigeria. in terms of budget and that has even led to slight recession”.
“So what Nigeria is looking at is a long time planning that will diminish and reduce the dependence on oil and put more focus on other productive sectors.”
“ As a UN institution, we are accompanying Nigeria in that type of thinking and hopefully in the implementation of this new plan that has just been adopted,’’ he said.
Boko said that the agricultural sector was one productive sector that was mostly ignored and could contribute greatly to a country’s GDP.
He noted that most African countries did not add value to the agricultural products before exporting them to other countries.
“In many countries in Africa that is what we do, we are selling primary products without processing them.”
“Whereas, other people come and buy off these products go and process them, and sell the finished products back to us.”
“While they are processing these products, they are also creating wealth and creating jobs for their people.”
“Where as, if we put in place the necessary policies and processes that would create value for the products we are making, it will help us a great deal.”
He explained that Nigeria was in process of raising the stature of agriculture that would actually form the basis for industrialisation.
Boko urged the government to ensure proper industrialisation policy for the country that would be the pillar for sustained growth and help create employment for the people.