Home Economy Agbakoba urges FG to introduce N100trn Marshal Plan to develop Nigeria 

Agbakoba urges FG to introduce N100trn Marshal Plan to develop Nigeria 

by Business News Report

Human Rights Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the federal government to introduce a N100 trillion Marshall Plan, targeted at positively impacting the lives of citizens. According to him, despite Nigeria’s active involvement in oil and gas production in the past 68 years, it has not shown in the lives of Nigerians as the industry is structured to favour the International Oil Companies, IoCs.He said some measures adopted by the federal government not withstanding, including legislations, the citizens remain poor, adding “that the current system of Joint Venture, JVs and Production Sharing Contracts, PSCs, originally justified by a lack of funds, now appears to violate the inherent rights of Nigerians over their natural resources.”

In his presentation – Rethinking Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Governance: A Policy Paper – in Lagos, he said: “Nigeria, with proven reserves of 37 billion barrels of oil and 206 trillion cubic feet of gas, stands as the largest oil and gas producer in sub-Saharan Africa. The petroleum industry forms the backbone of the Nigerian economy, contributing approximately 90% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 60% of total income. However, this abundance of natural resources has not translated into broad-based economic development and improved living standards for majority of Nigerians. The country continues to grapple with what economists call the “resource curse” or the “paradox of plenty.” This phenomenon is characterised by countries rich in natural resources, particularly non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, experiencing less economic growth, less democracy, and worse development outcomes compared to countries with fewer natural resources. In Nigeria, this is manifested by high poverty rates, inadequate infrastructure, and uneven economic development.

“Recent initiatives by President Tinubu, such as the Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan aimed at injecting N2 trillion into the economy over six months, is a positive step. The plan is to mitigate impact of two significant market corrections:  removal of fuel subsidies and the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market. However, while commendable, these measures fall short of the comprehensive reform needed to resolve Nigeria’s deep-seated economic challenges. Nigeria needs a bold, visionary approach comparable to the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression and Marshall Plan for Europe’s post-World War II reconstruction. A N100 trillion marshal plan for Nigeria could be the catalyst for transformative change, but its success hinges on a fundamental shift in governance priorities. Currently, political governance overshadows economic governance, distracting from the crucial task of economic revitalisation.

“The oil and gas sector, as the most lucrative of Nigeria’s 44 major natural resources, must be at the forefront of this transformation. It is crucial to remember that Section 44(3) of the Nigerian Constitution states that, the Federation of Nigeria owns all natural resources and is mandated to use those resources for the welfare and security of Nigerians. The current reality, reflected in the 133 million multidimensionally poor Nigerians, starkly contrasts with this constitutional obligation.” He also said  “this paradigm shift requires bold policy changes, including the securitisation of oil reserves through a Sovereign Oil Fund, which would allow Nigeria to finance its own oil and gas operations. It also calls for a re-evaluation of existing agreements with IOCs that have effectively outsourced decision-making and control over Nigerian resources.

“The current exit of IOCs presents both a challenge and an opportunity for new Nigerian actors in the oil and gas sector. In collaboration with the federal government, these actors must rise to the occasion and build a new strategy for oil and gas exploration based on development oil principles. By aligning the oil and gas sector with broader national interests and constitutional obligations, Nigeria can create a more diversified, resilient, and prosperous economy that truly benefits all its citizens. This approach not only promises economic growth but also reaffirms Nigeria’s sovereignty over its natural resources, ensuring that they are managed for the welfare and security of all Nigerians, as mandated by the constitution.”

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