Nigeria is capable of producing around 800 million barrels of oil per year, but a debate is underway in the government about new technology that could impact demand — electric cars.
Some lawmakers think that ignoring new technologies to protect oil exports may be damaging to the country’s economy.
Not everyone agrees. Ike Ekweremadu, Nigeria’s deputy senate president, says that the sale of electric cars in Nigeria should be frustrated in favor of oil sales, according toPunchNG.
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Senator Ben Murray-Bruce is calling for a government policy to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 and introduce electric cars, AllAfrica reports. Murray-Bruce has sponsored a bill to that effect.
Ekweremadu argues that adopting electric cars will be detrimental to the country’s oil sales.
The bill had little support in the senate. Politicians argued that banning fuel-based vehicles was not feasible. Electric cars would be unaffordable for many Nigerians, according to PremiumTimes.
The lack of support forced Murray-Bruce to withdraw the bill.
Nigerians on Twitter appear to disagree with Ekweremadu’s electric car theory, suggesting that such a strategy would be a step backwards for the country.
While oil is an important part of Nigeria’s economy, the sector’s growth is limited by ageing and damaged infrastructure and production capacity constraints, OilPrice suggests.
Its contribution to the economy is also heavily affected by the fluctuating oil price.
Production levels of 800 million barrels per year for a population as numerous as Nigeria’s and the fact that government spending is reliant on oil exports means that Africa’s largest economy is oil-dependant rather than oil-rich, according to VenturesAfrica.
Other sectors such as manufacturing need to receive attention in order to boost the West African country’s economic potential.
The sector currently contributes less than 10 percent to the country’s total GDP, Reuters reports.
It has therefore identified manufacturing as having great growth potential, and a plan has been put in place to double its manufacturing to 20 percent of gross domestic product and generate more than $30 billion annually within the next six years, the SABC reports.
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