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WES2018: Experts recommend special focus on agric, tourism, solid minerals, ICT - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
Experts from the academics, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors have strongly recommended that Nigeria should deliberately embark on the exploration of its potentials through the enhancement of agricultural value chain, massive investment in tourism, development of the solid minerals sector and embrace innovation and technology as its new sources of economic strength, reports ITREALMS.

Presenting the lead paper on Tuesday at the WorldStage Economic Summit 2018 with the theme: New Sources of Economic Strength to Make the future Happen, Dr. Babatunde Wasiu Adeoye, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Lagos said, “The agricultural sector remains a viable option for Nigeria in which it can produce her total demand internally without necessarily importing any of her final produce.”

Represented by Mr Onyebuchi Iwegbu, at the forum which took place at the Event Centre, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos, he listed some challenges that are being faced in the agriculture sector to include high cost of generating power, poor and limited storage facilities, bad road networks, Illegal food importation, inadequate market information on availability of products Land grabbing otherwise called illegal acquisition of land, inadequate skilled personnel, poor irrigation system, and high cost of acquiring processing equipment and agrochemicals, but noted that by finding a strategic way of ameliorating them might become a testimony for the country to experience the replica of what Brazil experienced in the past three years.

“In 2012, Brazil was able to significantly enhance their value chain in agricultural production and this led to the generation of 16 million new jobs and a producer of global agro processed commodities which includes sugar, ethanol and oranges,” he said.

“Their value chain developed due to the improvement in the availability of seeds, soil fertility, better use and provision of technology and finally, improvement in research and innovations in the sector.”

On tourism, he said its role in the economy cannot be undermined as it can be seen as a pulsating power house with deep and layered cultures and environment.

He said, “Tourism has the potentials of stimulating output and as such act as a strong force to stimulating and sustaining growth.”

He quoted Lonely Planet which in year 2016 reported that the tourism industry contributed about $7.6 trillion to the world economy thus accounting for about 10 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Nigeria tourism contributed about $1.5 billion, a hope to anchor on in terms of future output expansion sector dependants. For the sector to become a centre of attraction and growth driver, several actions must be taken by relevant stakeholders in achieving this,” he said.

He cited the example of how United Arab Emirates (UAE) used technology to transform their cities making it a centre for world tourists, saying Nigeria already has the landscape and other climatic conditionings in making her a centre of attraction for tourist.

“However, with massive investment in technology, hotels can better market their services and tourist centres can effectively enhance their centres,” he said.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Pix: Cross section of panel at the WES2018

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