From ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja
An economic expert, Professor Ricardo Hausmann, yesterday predicted that Nigeria’s crude oil will dry up in 41 years. He has, therefore, advised Nigeria to diversify into non-oil economy, rather than wholly depending on crude oil products. In his paper titled: ‘Product Space and Export Competitiveness’, at the 4th Economic Policy And Fiscal Strategy Seminar in Abuja, organized by Center for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), Hausmann who is also a Director, Center for International Development, Harvard University, regretted that countries that have more crude oil than Nigeria are more diversified than Nigeria.
He pointed out that there would not be any meaningful development in Nigeria if it does not diversify. For him, the process of development is the process of diversification. According to Hausmann, while the rich countries make more products, the poor ones produce few goods emphasising that Nigeria is the sixth worst country in capital space. Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, CSEA, Dr Ebere Uneze, said that while it is true that real gross domestic product has grown at over six per cent in recent years, the economy cannot be said to be competitive when compared with other emerging economies.
He also noted that Nigeria has been sliding in key indices such as the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index. Uneze said that a situation where the top 100 non-oil exporters in Nigeria earned about $1.8 billion in the whole of 2010, less than one month of oil revenue is a confirmation of lack of competitiveness of the economy. However, he said, while the non-oil exports to the national treasury is less, Nigeria continues to face challenges arising from leakages from crude oil.