Reliance on Oil is The Basis of Our Wretchedness And Poverty – Aregbesola

Extracts from the Transcript of Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s submission at the One-Day Conference on  Southwest in National Governance Organized By Urban Media Resource Limited, On 15th September, 2017.

 

 

Nigeria’s economy is centered on petrol dollar and that is what we all rely on for survival as it
represents 70 per cent of our revenue. While I was ruminating on our
income generation in Nigeria, which centers around oil production, I wondered; how much  can the average man possibly earn from Oil.

Going by OPEC’s production allowance for Nigeria, we can only produce 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, it means we can produce a maximum of  766.5 million barrels annually. With an estimated population of about 170 million, if we divide the barrels of oil per head which we are all entitled to, it means we are all entitled to approximately 5 barrels per head per year. The cost of a barrel of oil as of today is 50 dollars, meaning that each Nigerian is entitled to 250 dollars per year.

The cost of the dollar today in exchange for the Naira is between N366 and N370 per dollar but lets us assume that a dollar is N400 for ease of calculation.  Multiplying 250 Dollars by N400, this amounts to N100,000and that is what each Nigerian is entitled to per head per year from the proceeds of Crude Oil Sales assuming this very simplistic analysis. Now, Let’s divide this into twelve months, it means on a monthly basis, we are entitled to N8,333.33. How much is #8,333,33 to an average Nigerian in a month; does it take care of his basic needs? Lest we forget, our current minimum wage is N19,000, way above our N8,333 earning as a Nation.

As bad as the picture painted above is, it is sad to admit that this is the reality of the everyday Nigerian. This is why as a country, we languish in poverty and wretchedness. The proceeds from oil seem enormous to us because only a few, I would say at most ,  about a million Nigerians of our the entire population benefit immensely from the proceeds, which makes them extremely richer than the average Nigerian.

By the statistics I have given, if the proceeds of crude oil that every Nigerian was entitled to was actually given to him, even at the cost of N8,000 in a month, maybe the situation would not be as dire as it is now, but because about 99 per cent don’t have access to their entitlement, that is why we think we are rich but all this while, this has been the basis of our wretchedness and poverty as a nation.

So what’s the way out, Oil income is definitely not enough to realize the prosperous the Nigeria of our dream, sharing the “National Cake” is not the way out. We need to create New Wealth. We need to move from rent income and earn our way to prosperity. For Nigeria to succeed, We will need to Produce. Produce our Food , our  Clothes,  our House and other Needs. We must move from a Rent Culture to a ProductionCulture.