Nigeria’s emerging economic status, a depression for her citizens.

Filed under: Democracy & Governance,National Issues |

rebasing of gdp

Nigeria is now the biggest economy in Africa. Africa’s most populous nation is ahead of countries like; South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Algeria and Angola. This has transcended to the world stage, as the giant of Africa is also the 26th largest economy in the world, ahead of nations like Malaysia. A country Nigeria uses as a proper index for development, since they both started nationhood almost at the same time. The pertinent question in the lips of everyone in Nigeria is ‘has the sleeping giant finally awaken?’ However, if an attempt is made to juxtapose this recent development with World Bank Chief pronouncement, that two-third of extremely poor, are concentrated in 5 countries, such as: India, China. Nigeria, Bangladesh and DR Congo. Which adumbrates that it is not yet uhuru for Nigeria, that the up-shoot in the nations GDP is not a destination as told by those who release the figure that indeed is a clarion call, that Nigeria must take advantage of the size of its economy in other to move forward.

What is this growth and development index called GDP and how is it measured? GDP is the money value of the output of every individual (both citizens and foreigners) in a country in a given period, say a year. Citizens who are resident elsewhere are not included. In other words all the income values of the products of those people (citizens and foreigners) who are resident in the country under consideration in the given period of time. The value of the products of the citizens of that country that are not resident in that country are not calculated. In some quarters in the country, the recent development has raised doubt and disagreement, since after been referred to as the poorest country and now adjudged the biggest economy in Africa, prompting the citizens to conclude that the world rating body has a faulty parameter.

What does being the 26th largest economy in the world mean to Nigeria? GDP measurement means better data on the size of Nigeria’s economy. Since all this activities existed, just that they were not captured so well in the past 24 years, according to the Minister of Finance and the coordinating minister of the economy. Example, the Nollywood industry, Telecommunication sector (mobile phone boom), and even the informal sectors. The minister continued, “the structure of the economy is more diversified”. All micro and medium enterprises are still very important, because it will necessitate the development of policies to support this areas that has been neglected over the years. Small and medium enterprises houses a larger part of Nigeria’s young population -which implies that government policies must be developed to support this category of people, by providing them with access to funds, double up on their skills requirement, and the market environment to encourage there activities in the economy.

This further means that for private sectors and foreign investors alike will be attracted to Nigeria’s economy. This standard of measurement has existed for long, just that Nigeria lagged behind in adopting the required standard used around the world in the past 24 years, prompting the nation to look unattractive and backward in the eyes of the world. However, the poverty level is still very enormous.

Domestic investor will be actuated since they now have the proper measurement they need and that can possibly increase the size of their investment in the country to create jobs, knowing that Nigeria economy is characterized with strong consumer base.

Again the benefit of this judgment remains that it will help Nigeria expand her safety nest for those at the bottom-end of the ladder that they can also make gains from this economy better than they were before now. Nigerian government will be hoping this serves signal enough for industries to expand production and possibly create job and where there are potentials for employment, perhaps, government will do more to encourage them by way of supportive policies.

However, this isn’t where the most populous African nation want to be. Considering re-basing is done every 5 years, I still wonder why the government waited for 24 years to conduct this one everybody seem to be raving about. What effort are government showing to ensure that Nigeria follow the trend, considering that so many people are expressing doubt over the current standing of the GDP?

As an economy that is judged to be the largest in Africa and 26th largest in the world, I believe such evidence has to be visible. It must reflect positively in the life of every citizen – a critical look at the human development index, such as: Maternal mortality rate, infant mortality, illiteracy level, hunger, poverty rate, and unemployment. Nigeria is the highest ahead of country like India. When it comes to maternal mortality, women die like chickens in the poultry farm. Infant mortality; record has it that children rapidly die before the age of 5 when compared to disease and war ravaged countries around the world. Looking at other factors such as; illiteracy level which is at 72%, one of the highest in Africa – the government have to redistribute income urgently to ensure a fare and more equitable distribution of income, because this wealth seem to be concentrated in the hands of a few people who are milking the nation dry. One of the greatest problem bedeviling this nation is lack of sustainable government policies –every government that assumes power changes the existing policy to one that favours and support his motives. Aside the military regime, from 1999, Nigeria have moved from one policy to another, as we have experienced the movement from vision 2020 to vision 20:2020, and then 7 point agenda and the President Goodluck’s transformation agenda. The economy of the entire Northern Nigeria has been crippled by the activities of insurgents, people are afraid to conduct any form of business in war zones.

The economy rating: why is it that Nigeria cannot produce what they consume? A critical survey on major stores across the country shows that they decorate their shelves with 96% foreign products, approximately 1,962 textile mills has shut down in the country and recently the federal government in their wisdom deemed it fit to invite countries like Pakistan to come and revive the nation’s textile industries without conducting any form of analysis to determine what caused the closure in the first place – for a country of over 160 million people, with the large chunk of that population being youth, still a dependable workforce it will be a shame and a disservice to everything knowledge stands for if Nigeria cannot single handedly revive her agricultural sector. Nigeria do not need foreign investors in Agriculture. It is not all sector of our economy that requires the input of foreigners, our labour force is enough to pull the strings required to get Nigeria to the echelon. Virtually everything we wear and eat are imported, motivating Nigerians to spend the little they earn on buying foreign made goods.

Call the award of 26th largest economy in the world an achievement or otherwise, I still maintain that the measurements are paper policies, one based on foreign policies. The question remains, how do we dovetail from attracting foreign and domestic investors to start improving the lives of ordinary Nigerian on the street?