Crude oil price crash, blessing in disguise – OOPC boss
By Kehinde Oluwatayo.
General Manager of Okitipupa Oil Palm Company (OOPC), Taiwo Adewole has called on the Federal government to make agriculture the economy’s mainstay, especially as the global crash in crude oil price continue.
Adewole said the downward slide in oil prices was a blessing in disguise for the country, adding that it was a wake-up call for the country to return to agriculture.
The OOPC boss made the observation in an interview with the Guardian.
He said, “The current crash in the international price of crude oil is a mixed-bag in terms of its effects on Nigeria. While it has profound adverse effects on the country’s 2020 Budget and portends a great danger to the fragile economy, it portends a blessing in disguise for the country.
“This is so because within the economic misfortune lies a salient wake-up call on both the Federal Government and the citizens in general to return to agriculture and re-invent it as the mainstay of the country’s economic resources and a foreign exchange earner.”
Adewole cited examples of countries like Norway, South Africa, Israel and Ghana that have all diversified their economies, with most of them making agriculture an economic mainstay.
He observed that crude oil earnings should be used for technological advancement rather than total dependence on it.
“The danger of depending on oil is not about the continued availability or that the well will dry. Of course, the well will dry one day no matter how long, but our potentials for agriculture and sea for aquaculture cannot dry.”
On the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Adewole noted that the spread of the virus has shaken so many economies, forcing them to look inwards to protect their citizens.
According to him, nations are now looking towards self-sufficiency and Nigeria should not be left out.
To quicken this revolution, the company head suggested, there was the need for the establishment of ‘Strategic Intervention Funds’ for key agricultural sub-sectors such as oil palm production, cocoa, groundnut, among others.
He further suggested that the intervention funds could be similarly structured in line with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), among others.