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Otunuga sets agenda for Economic Advisory Council

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A Senior Research Analyst at the FXTM Limited, Mr. Lukman Otunuga, has advised the recently-constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC) by President Muhammadu Buhari to to focus on steps that will mitigate Nigeria’s exposure to oil price shock by diversifying the economy.

Otunuga gave the advice in Lagos during an interactive session with journalists where he made predictions on Nigeria’s economic outlook for 2020.

The Analyst commenting further about the EAC, he said: “They should focus on diversification, because we need to look at the problem and, it’s not really a problem, it’s a curse or blessing. Nigeria is still heavily dependent on oil.

“The new economic team, what they should be looking for should be matrix they can put into place to mitigate Nigeria’s exposure to oil price shock.

“I know we speak about agriculture, you know when we look at the population and the unemployment rate, we have a youth unemployment rate of about 25 per cent.

“We have a population that is pushing over 190 million and we have fertile land, and Nigeria has the ability to grow some produce from agriculture.

“So, like everyone is asking: Is the government taking a step? When are we going to see the impact of those steps?

“Sometime this year, the IMF in a report warned that Nigeria was not doing enough to diversify the economy. It is still the same economic matrix that we are talking about – the heavy reliance on oil.”

While commenting on the 2020 Appropriation Bill the president submitted to the National Assembly recently, he said the revenue target was going to be exposed to external risks, pointing out that, “should the oil price falls below the $57 per barrel bench.

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He further said that on paper, the year 2020 budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari has the ability to elevate Nigeria’s economy if not marred by some economic indices.

Otunuga also described some of the revenue targets set by the executive arm of government as ‘quite ambitious’, however, they are running the risk of falling short and affecting budget implementation as seen in previous years.

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