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Mr Seun Faluyi, Managing Director, Offshore Dimensions, an oil servicing company in Abuja on Thursday, urged Nigerians to embrace opportunities created by the economic recession in the country.
Faluyi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on the sideline of the 6th Practical Nigerian Conference, an annual oil and gas event.
According to him, low oil prices do not translate to doomsday, adding that Nigeria can still forge ahead in other sectors of the economy.
He noted that government was encouraging a shift in paradigm from the real regulation on oil and gas to focus on supporting supply chain.
Faluyi said: « What we do as a country is we are fixated on price and production. Can we get the supply chain together and say there is a demand.
« If you build up your own capacity to make things cheaper and efficient, then you will be helping the industry.
« So, when there is an upswing for welding, you may not need welders in the oil and gas industry but in transportation. You can weld tankers, buses at a global quality.
« So even if we say prices are low or we have challenges in production, it is not a cause for us to say it is doomsday that we can’t forge ahead.
« Oil is down but it doesn’t mean that life has ended. Are there other industries where the skills we have built can be used? »
He lauded the Nigerian Content Management Development Board (NCMDB), for encouraging local content by venturing into other sectors.
« My company has partnered with an international company which deals in filters and other products. Oil and gas use these products but other industries too use it like in cement.
« The standard that we have been able to attain in the oil industry, we are now transferring it to other sectors of Nigeria and I’m sure our story is not unique.
« Other companies are doing this. We are creating additional value, we may say there is a downturn, but actually, there is opportunity for those who seek. »
He urged institutions that sponsor trainees to schools abroad on scholarships to bring in the trainers and train more people with the same amount in Nigeria.
« The irony is that most enrolment for oil and gas courses abroad is from Nigeria. If you bring the trainers from, let say Princeton here, you will able to train a lot more.
« If we have institutional backing and we make it free, you will find that a lot more are trained. It is that value that we want to extract from our country. »
On oil prices, Faluyi said, it could reduce with the onset of winter in various countries but that there were overstuffed storage for now.
« The prices will go down, right now we have overstuffed storage, it is like a buyer’s market, even with winter coming, those worse-hit are the ones producing the most now.
« Another reality is that our GDP is not really oil-driven; it is agriculture, telecommunications, banking that drives it.
« Foreign exchange is more from oil, 85 per cent is from oil and that is why any time you need dollars, they say oil industry is down, there are no dollars.
« In reality, the growth in the economy is powered by other things that are not oil. We have to look inwards and not outwards. »