Nigeria is officially in recession for there are now two consecutive negative growths and GDP contractions in two quarters. The economy shrinks sequentially in first and second quarters by .36 and 2.06 percent respectively.
Before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) made the official recession pronouncement, Nigerians were already feeling the chilliness of the ebbing economy. The economic decline came with rising inflation and further deterioration of the purchasing power of naira. The devaluation of naira is not making the situation any easier, the floating naira has become superfluous but weak and subservient to the dominant US Dollar. Nigeria might as well adopt US Dollar as its indigenous currency. Why not? Nigeria’s wellbeing revolves around the dollar and everything we do in Nigeria is decided by the dollar value and its relationship to naira.
Worth of goods and services are predetermined by dollar value because almost the whole country depends on foreign goods and technical support for its operational functionality. This is slapdash and disjointed way to survive as a country. What Nigeria does is ‘collect and spend’ - when oil is lifted, Nigeria is paid and from there Nigeria runs her country.
So, without oil, Nigeria is not an economic functioning unit? I would like to disentangle myself from such assertion but in the words of John Adams, “facts are stubborn things.”
Nigeria can be called non-productive nation - How can the most populous nation in Africa crashed into recession? To be conservative, the population of the country can be estimated between 170 – 180 million people. If ten percent of the population concentrates on trading with each other, there is no way the country can be in recession.
Therefore the logical deduction is that a reasonable percentage of Nigerians are not productive or do not engage in any meaningful endeavor that can raise the level of productivity in the economic town square. Free enterprise and capitalism are waning in the country and ills of socialism may have replaced them. Social and economic orientations maybe the greatest challenge the country must face. How long can Nigeria depend on oil export for daily existence. The country must be more creative in channeling the country’s vibrant energy into meaningful economic output. Political bickering does not put food on the table nor grows the economy. Hard work and good policy grow the wealth of a nation and not dizzying dependence on one commodity.
Nigerian youths to the rescue:
Nigerian youths are already known for their exceptional creative energy; Nigeria policy makers must encourage them to be their best and stop politicizing them. Look at what our youths have accomplished in creative industry. Yes, their great achievements in Nollywood and entertainment industry speak a volume of a people vying for opportunity to compete with rest of the world.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, validated the entrepeutrial energy and creativity of Nigerian youths when he was in Lagos. Nigeria should stop looking to IMF and World Bank for solutions, for the country holds the key to her greatness. The country’s destiny is not in the galaxy but in her hands. Change your mindset and attitude to productivity, and then the greatness of Nigeria will emerge.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.