Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says faulty economic policies and overdependence on oil revenues are the main causes of the country’s economic problems.
Nigeria only has itself to blame for its current economic troubles, Buhari said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, AFP reported.
He also took to task previous governments for causing the country’s overreliance on crude revenues.
Buhari’s remarks came as Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest oil producer and the most powerful economy, has been struggling with problems caused by global oil price slump for more than a year.
The drastic fall in oil prices since June last year has sharply slashed most of the Nigerian government’s revenues.
Last Thursday, Nigeria’s junior oil minister stated that some oil-producing countries, including Russia, were supposed to meet in Moscow on March 20 to discuss a way out of the current oil price slump.
Asked about the impact of policies adopted by Saudi Arabia, as the world’s biggest crude oil supplier, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on smaller oil producers, Buhari told al-Jazeera English that to get out of the current dire situation, all member states of OPEC had to “act together to save the situation.”
Noting that all oil producing countries, including Nigeria, “have to live by” market forces, the Nigerian president ruled out the possibility of his country’s withdrawal from the international body.
He, however, said, “OPEC, as an organization, has to be mindful of economic conditions in each member country, because that will influence that country’s ability to go along with OPEC decisions.”
Buhari also criticized various Nigerian governments for not being able to diversify the country’s economy, saying, “Hence, we are much more disadvantaged by the lower oil prices and OPEC may try to help us out but really, it’s basically our own fault.”
Buhari, who took office in May last year, has made reducing Nigeria’s reliance on crude revenues a key component of his economic policy in addition to making efforts to end decades of corruption and impunity.
But those efforts have been largely rendered ineffective as a result of cash-flow problems caused by the global oil price shock as well as failure of previous administrations’ to save crude revenue when global oil prices were high.
Buhari once again noted that he would not devalue the naira currency or lift strict foreign exchange controls that critics say have strangled investment and growth in the import-dependent country.
“Nigeria can only afford to live within its means,” he added.
(Source: IRAN TODAY)