Nigeria could have been a very different country had it not dumped all other areas of the economy for oil, President Muhammadu Buhari lamented on Tuesday, calling on his countrymen to avoid past costly mistakes.
“We must avoid the mistakes made in the past by both government and manufacturers, and we are ready to get investment from all quarters, so that we can improve the lives of our people,” Mr. Buhari said when he received the Executive Members of Association of Africa Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM). The delegation was led by the association’s chairman, Mr Jeff Nemeth.
Although Mr. Buhari was repeating a well-known argument in Nigeria, many had said the country even failed to take advantage of oil. It has only been sharing and stealing oil money instead of developing the oil sector, 60 years after crude was discovered in Bayelsa state in 1956.
Nigeria hardly drills or refines its own oil. Those tasks are left to international oil companies and marketers that either drill or take crude outside of the country to refine it as the local refineries are either dysfunctional, partially functional or below the capacity needed.
Mr. Buhari lamented that Nigeria failed to develop on automobile initiatives started in Bauchi, Kaduna and Ibadan, and depended too much on oil as mainstay of her economy.
“We are making efforts to start our steel industry all over again. I see vast opportunities for both the country and those who invest here,” the President said.
Mr. Nemeth said the Association comprised potential investors who were ready to unlock investment potentials on the African continent.
“We are ready to offer strategic partnership with Nigeria. We want to promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks and sustainable manufacturing.
“We will equally promote infrastructure development, job creation, and skills transfer,” he said.
The AAAM chairman sought the support of the Presidency in the realisation of the vision and mission of the association, President Buhari’s spokesman said in a statement.