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Oil is Reason Northern States Are Poorest – Prof. Douglason Omotor

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Lilian Ezejelue

Prof. Douglason Omotor, the Advisor, Business Development Unit of West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) while speaking on Mundane Diversification Strategies for Inclusive Development of States in Nigeria mentioned that over reliance on oil revenue by states has affected States adversely.

All Nigerian States rely heavily on the federal tax pool and tax allocation in order to fulfil their obligations to their states and pay workers. This has led them to ignore the other mineral resources available in their states and instead depend on the oil generated by a few states.

The North West and North Central states are the poorest in the country despite having most of the resources. Kogi and Nasarawa are the states with the most mineral resources in the country. In spite of this the Northern states still battle poverty.  This he attributed to fact that these states ignore the resources they have and look to oil revenue.

He also mentioned that the major oil producing states are the least endowed states yet are the most exploited, oil being the resource exploited.

All these affect oil producing states and even the non oil producing states.

All the states of Nigeria have at least one mineral resource. Nigeria is blessed with numerous resources asides oil and states need to take advantage of this and begin to harness other minerals available to them to generate revenue.

He also warned against the dangers of over reliance on mineral resources and advised on the need to give great attention to Agriculture.  According to him “ It is mundane to merely see the exploitation of minerals as the only way of diversifying the economy from the vagaries of oil export.”

In order to maximize the other mineral resources, value has to be added to transform them into more valuable products. Prof. Douglason stated that “It is not advisable to export minerals in their natural form to foreign countries only to import them again from those same countries as a finished product.”

Prof. Douglason Omotor revealed all these at a dialogue organized by the Forum for Inclusive Nigeria Development (FIND). FIND is an initiative of both New Nigeria Foundation and Consensus Building Institute.

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