THE first economic method of any nation or group of people is subsistence exchange of goods and services which in turn transforms to global trade which operates on the principle that such a people have produced enough of their needs for personal consumption, have excess, which are then used to exchange for other people’s excesses that may be useful for their wellbeing.
THIS system of economic development, were the foundations of Nigeria’s employment of more than 75% of her population in the agricultural sector, prior to the discovery of crude oil in economic quantities. Contrary to the expectation that the oil would lead to economic ascendancy for the nation and her people, the reverse seems the case.
UNFORTUNATELY, too, we observe that the discovery of the oil led to the dearth of interest in Nigeria’s subsistence substructure, and hence the underdevelopment of the food industries, thereby turning Nigerians into importers of food. While many myopic analysts had insisted that Nigeria’s economic downturn could be traced to her increased population, we argue that Nigeria’s booming population is in fact the major singular reason for the nation’s economy to grow.
THE population implies that there are more markets for goods and services at profitable rate for both local and international investors. Also, the fact that Nigeria(ns) in response to globalization had jumped to Rostow’s stage of high mass consumption also dictates their taste for goods and services that are not produced in their country. So, in order to feed their longings, dependence on foreign goods becomes a natural leaning and of course a toll on the nation’s economy.
SO, rather than the nation gaining from her population, other nations of the world are the beneficiaries, while Nigeria grapples with inflation and ridiculous exchange rates in the international market. Truth be told, India and China, had leveraged on their vast population to develop their industrial sectors and have become contending powers in global economic relations.
THE HOPE submits that successive Nigerian governments over the years have contributed in no small way to the nation’s present economic woes. They had sat as Ostriches, with their heads in the sand as the manufacturing sector of the nation collapsed under their watch. We recall the establishments of Oluwa Glass, Ifon Ceramics, Okitipupa Oil Palm, Tyre producing factories; Nigeria Textile Mill, Car Plants, Ewekoro Cement and many industries that produced for both local and export consumption.
HOWEVER, rather than develop the nation’s power sector, the various power plants had reduced their power generation over the years. Despite being endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources, and the potential to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from existing 23 power generating plants connected to the national grid; Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in 2021, reported that power distribution in the year, averaged only 4,094.09 megawatt.
THIS abysmal output had sounded the death knell of the nation’s industrial sector, thus leading to the migration of many industries from Nigeria to neighbouring countries. Due to insufficient power, also many import substitution, agro-allied, automobile and weaponry manufacturing industries in Nigeria have packed up, leaving many talented youths unemployed, and many brilliant ideas dead.
THE undeveloped agriculture sector, which still operates on old farming techniques and implements have at best produced raw materials for the industrialised world. No nation gains economic ascendancy by producing and exporting primary goods. Rather, they procure dependent economies which catch cold anytime their importing nation sneeze.
THE goal of Nigeria should be the mechanization and industrialization of the agriculture sector which would be empowered to transform primary goods into demanded finished goods. Government cannot stifle the Nigerians’ desires for better goods by increasing the import duties. This would rather lead to increase in inflation and smuggling activities which would also endanger the lives of many.
NIGERIA’s music, film and broadcast industries have shown over the years that when locally produced goods and services are of high standards, Nigerians would patronize ‘their’ products. For Nigeria to therefore benefit from her population and desire for high mass consumption, the focus of leadership should be power generation.
FROM theology, we learn that even before God could embark on His developmental project for the world, He said ‘Let there be light’. We at THE HOPE therefore insist that there is nothing wrong in Nigerians’ consumption drive and direction, but everything is wrong with government’s response and understanding of the issues at hand.
UNTIL the power generation and distribution in Nigeria is improved to 15,000MW, and government also gives impetus to the manufacturing sector, darkness would continue to encourage capital flight as it pursues foreign made goods for local consumption.
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