Nigeria’s economic diversification demands natural capital accounting application —Ag. Director

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The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning  has said application of  natural capital accounting to the country’s planning process is critical to attaining Nigeria’s economic diversification goals.

Acting Director, Economic Growth in the ministry, Mr. Aso Vakporaye said this at a two-day workshop for Ministries, Departments and Agencies on “Mainstreaming Natural Capital Accounting into Nigeria’s Development Plan.”

He said that the application of natural capital accounting would assist the country to achieve its economic diversification plan.

Natural capital economy is the process of calculating the stocks and flows of natural resources and services in a given ecosystem.

According to Vakporaye, accounting for such goods which may occur in physical or monetary terms, can help the country to diversify from oil-based economy to other natural resources.

“More income will be generated, we will fulfill the aspect of food security and we will have enough to feed Nigerians.

“We can put things together and can be exporting some of them.

“There are so many natural resources we can utilise to grow the economy.

“No doubt, even if there is no fossil fuel, these are enough to create income for national development.

“It is, therefore, important to provide detailed statistics for better management of these natural resources that contribute to economic development,” he said.

On his part, Mr. Nnaemeka Oruh, the National Coordinator, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE, Nigeria) said that Nigeria could also apply the principles of natural capital accounting to environmental protection and conservation.

“In addition, the process can subsequently inform government, corporate and consumer decision making as each relate to the use or consumption of natural resources and land.

“While we are trying to develop our Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), it is important that we apply the principles of natural capital accounting to assist Nigeria’s development plan.

“What we are doing is to ensure that government pays attention to the environment which is the bedrock of the economy.

“The country’s economy cannot survive without the environment; what we have been doing is taking from the environment without curtailing the plundering of the environment.

“We should take into consideration that when you take you should do something to replenish,” Oruh said.

Contributing, an environmental expert, Dr. Eugene Itua, emphasised the need to protect the environment to give life more meaning.

“We don’t measure it in our Gross Domestic Products (GDP); we go to the forest, fell down the trees, we use water, we use energy but we don’t take account of all that we are doing rather than to just use,’’ Itua said.

Itua, who is Head, Natural Eco Capital, further pointed out the need to apply the process toward enhancing the country’s GDP, income and national planning.

“For a system that does not take account of this even if your GDP is growing, you are actually failing,” he said.