Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said with greater diligence, hard work and patriotic determination to achieve self-sufficiency, Nigeria can produce most of the items currently on its import list.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari spoke at a farewell audience with the outgoing Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Saeed Koozechi.
Buhari also said his administration was fully committed and determined to do all within its powers to achieve the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy in the shortest possible time.
The president said: “We made a terrible mistake by becoming a mono-product economy hinged on oil and we are now in a volatile situation, due to the crash in oil prices.
“We have seen the benefits of diversification which helped Iran to survive many years of sanctions and still come out strong.
“We are now fully committed to economic diversification. Most of the things on our import bills can be produced here. And we are determined to achieve that self-dependency,” President Buhari told the outgoing envoy.
At a separate audience with the outgoing Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, Buhari gave an assurance that the federal government would continue to do its best to meet its obligations under bilateral agreements with China for the development of critical infrastructure in Nigeria.
The president said because of their importance to Nigeria, his administration would uphold contractual agreements with Chinese companies for the development of essential infrastructure which it inherited from past administrations, and work to ensure that the projects are speedily completed.
Buhari reiterated his particular commitment to the completion of the Mambilla Power Project which, he said was of great strategic importance to his government’s efforts to ensure that Nigeria did not become over-reliant on gas-powered electricity generation.
He commended the outgoing ambassadors for their efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure in Abuja.
The president wished them well in their future endeavours.