By Rafiu Agboola
The former Ambassador to Cuba, Senator Segun Bamigbetan-Baju has expressed optimism that Nigeria will become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by year 2020 if the government can develop the tourism system and provide security for the tourists.
Senator Baju who said despite the current economic mess facing the country as a result of the crash in the oil price, Nigeria would become 20 biggest economies in the world if the government agrees to diversify the economy from a mono-based one.
He said this at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Office, Osogbo, while delivering a lecture titled “Rebuilding the Nigerian Economy – The Place of Tourism.
Senator Baju observed that many countries have succeeded with sole dependent on tourism, maintained that Nigeria have many tourist centre that can bring money.
Senator Baju frowned at the problem facing the country due to dependence on petroleum, advising that it was time for Nigeria to develop the tourism system to solve the problem of unemployment.
“Nigeria receives a lot of visitors annually who visits purely on business. Many of these are investors, consultants or those seeking contracts from government.
Regretting the backwardness suffered by Nigeria from the largest economy in Africa, Senator Baju said “the continent needs to reorganize its Petro-dollar based economy by operating a fully diversified economy where several sectors will contribute optimally to boost its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Critical among the sectors that is expected to contribute more is the tourism sector. Unlike oil and gas, tourism guarantees sustainable development being one of the important components of the service industry.
“Tourism has the uniqueness of being able to take idle youths off the street into productive life as every aspect of the twenty-five or so sub sector, from hotel accommodation to catering and transportation including air travel is capable of generating employment.
“There are abundant sites and tourist attractions in villages and towns as far flung as the Manbilla Plateau in Adamawa state, relics of Slave Trade in Badagry, Obudu Ranch in Cross Rivers state, Idanre hills and the temples of deities in Ile-Ife. Thus, tourism has the potential of curbing rural to urban migration, he stated.
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