Senator representing Imo East Senatorial District, Francis Ezenwa Onyewuchi has lamented the nation’s capital flight to the tune of $500 million on the importation of oil annually.
He said government’s neglect in developing the industry was causing it huge resources, adding that the industry does not only have the capacity to generate sustainable revenue, but can provide employment opportunities.
The lawmaker noted that it was unacceptable for a country that was the largest net exporter of Palm oil in the 50s and 60s to continue the exportation of oil palm to its disadvantage in the international market.
Speaking with journalists on a motion tagged “Urgent need to to revive the Palm Oil Industry”, which he sponsored on Tuesday in Abuja, he was optimistic that the oil palm industry would replace crude oil once the government wakes up to the challenge.
“In the 50s and 60s, Nigeria was the largest net exporter of oil palm, but the narrative has changed due to neglect of the sector by the government.
“The country spends about $500 million on importation of oil palm annually for 400,000 to 600,000 metric tons in order to meet local demands.
“Today, researchers on oil palm are no more, instead of using the opportunity of technology to increase researches for maximum yield.
“There was a Police report that links poverty with crime and if the government in an effort to diversify mop up youth in the agricultural sector, it will lessen criminality in Nigeria.
He added that the Senate would pursue oil palm development using the legislative tools to ensure the policy was implemented by government of the day.