The Oasis Reporters
December 9, 2017
One thing that has confused many Nigerians and mostly Nigerian politicians is the state of the nation’s economy:
The potentials of our economy is limitless at least for the time being. In whatever sector you consider, opportunities abound.
I have maintained that every single deficit in Nigeria is a job or investment opportunity, why this has not been taken advantage of still remains inexplicable, from our education to healthcare to infrastructure, industry, trade and solid minerals, everything is begging for attention.
Many great nations we see today were at some point where we are today. China started its economic revolution over half a century ago, and today China is the second largest economy in the world, the nation grew her economy at almost 10%. At some point, they were aggressive to close the gap and meet up with other industrially sophisticated nations.
Their policies encouraged the setting up of industries in China and their educational system focused on skills rather than academic knowledge and they made their companies to partner with foreign companies while they used their population to drive sales for hitherto small businesses just as they began to expand and acquire more sophisticated equipment and technologies in addition.
Today, China has almost reached her peak and it’s economy is still growing at 6-7% because the local community of 1.3billion people is a huge market anytime.
The small island city state of Singapore was chased out of Malaya (which renamed itself, Malaysia) in the 60s. The country was in a worse condition than we are today.
It took the vision of one man and his team to transform a nation that had very little in terms of natural resources to transform a nation plagued with corruption, laziness, dirt, religion and ethnic disaffection into a world super power in economic terms. The country was literally built on the wisdom and vision of one man Lee Kuan Yew.
Where Malaysia saw a dirty clueless island, Lee saw a beautiful bride. It may have taken them years but today Singapore has the best airport in the world and their economy is 3rd largest in terms of GDP per capita in the world built purely on human capital, skills and services.
The list goes on and on.
The “Make in India” policy and the recent ‘America First’ policy of President Donald Trump are yielding fantastic results, unemployment in the US is down to almost 4%, India is self sufficient in many areas as we speak while the country’s economy is growing at an annual rate of 7%, and report has it that by February next year Nigeria would have more poor people than there are in India, taking into account the population of India.
What exactly is the problem with the Nigerian economy?
We simply lack vision and creativity from the leadership. The country has often tried to cash its way out of these issues, with YouWin program, Npower, Anchor borrowers, MSMEs loans etc. These interventions cannot and can never solve our problems.
I’m an engineer by training but an economist by choice, creative thinker by exposure, I have high regards for principles and processes, what has been lacking is the fact that our policies are not based on proven economic principles and the process are not deeply thought out, scenario planning is zero and use of models to test our policies is completely absent.
We are like the BEAUTY DAMSEL, yet our suitors do not want to stay around, they are like runs guys, they come with their hot money called foreign portfolio investments and they come quick, always ready to take the next available flight at any slightest provocation or discomfort which is largely due to what we call policy somersault in government.
The inconsistencies and lack of transparency in our policies has done more harm to us than natural disasters has to some countries, so we can comfortably say that our problems have always come from our leadership, who lack vision, the knowledge and often times the commitment to see through a policy.
What then is the way out?
As a nation blessed with everything the world needs today. It’s time for us to take a stand. First of all we need to stop importing petroleum products into Nigeria, it’s shameful to read that Ghana now exports Premium Motor Spirits to Nigeria, countries that do not have crude deposits in commercial quantities have functional refineries that recruit their teeming youth and pay them handsomely while Nigeria the 6th largest owner of the world’s crude oil deposits still imports PMS , which is the most ridiculous thing ever seen.
The potentials and value chain of refining our crude is enough to industrialize Nigeria in less than ten years, besides, the government does not need to spend from it’s treasury to build petroleum refineries. The market available in Nigeria and other West Africa countries is huge.
The nation consumes about 4.5m bbl per day in West Africa which is about 715m litres everyday, so it’s a market that can attract serious investors provided there is security, and policies consistency. Electric Power is not even an issue here, because there are smart ways companies can run independent power systems to power their industries provided government does not interfere with their operations.
Local productivity is what we must focus on, make our SMEs attractive and provide the market for them instead of intervention funding that yields no result.
Create an SME stock market or revive the second tier stock market. While registering the SMEs on that platform, embark on an aggressive industrialization, create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and judiciously use the taxes collected to develop the country, as we run a transparent and accountable government.
Then watch foreign direct investment troop in to Nigeria, to develop all our economic sectors, from solid minerals to agriculture, creative art, sports etc.
We have the capacity to turn this LONELY BEAUTIFUL DAMSEL to a BEAUTIFUL BRIDE.