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‘Let’s Stop Calling Ourselves The Giant Of Africa’ – Sanusi Laments Nigeria’s Failing Economy

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Sanusi

Former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido has warned the leaders of Nigeria to quickly look away from oil revenue and diversify the economy of the country.

This is as he warned that many buyers of the product are gradually settling for alternatives and in a few years’ time, there may no longer be sufficient demand for the nation’s oil resources upon which its economy is based at the moment.

Sanusi, also a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), sounded the note of warning on Friday while speaking at the ‘day two’ of the Kaduna Investment Summit, Naija News reports.

He also observed that many other smaller African nations are doing better with their economy than Nigeria.

In his view, oil is the goose that lays the golden eggs for Nigeria’s economy at the moment but taking a cue from the direction in which the world is moving, the goose is about to die and the eggs will be no more.

He lamented that Nigeria is sadly not forward-thinking with its policies and the global economy as well as many other African nations are fast leaving the country behind.

He said the future lies in a knowledge-based economy, driven by ICT but Nigeria seems stuck in carbon while the world is already fast moving towards decarbonization.

“Globally, work is being redefined. 30 to 40 per cent of workers in developed economies will need to significantly upgrade their skills by 2030. And what are the major drivers of this redefinition? ICT and remote working, which we have seen even here with COVID.

‘There is increased automation and artificial intelligence. Very soon, robots will take over work in most countries and those who would have hob are those who operate the robots or manufacture the robots or service the robot.

“And you have decarbonisation. For us in Nigeria, the enclave economy that we have, the so-called goose that lays the golden egg is about to die. There will be no eggs. The future is not in the carbons.

“A few months ago, Germany was able to produce enough renewable energy for the entire country’s need. Today, we are having difficulties selling Nigerian oil. So, not only are we having problems producing, even when we produce, the market is not there.

“So, this is forcing a change, and for us a country that depends on oil, things need to change.

“Nigeria is ranked 114th in the global innovation index. We are lower than other African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal. We are in fact ranked 14th in sub-Saharan Africa. I think we should have this reality check and know where we are as a country. Let’s stop calling ourselves the giant of Africa because we are the giant with clay feet.

“Countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal are ahead of us. I am not even talking about South Africa. Our expenditure on education is only seven per cent of the budget. We are spending less on education than Ghana; I am not talking about as per the percentage of the budget; in absolute terms, even though the Ghanaian economy is much smaller than the Nigerian economy, even though the Ghanaian government revenue is less than Nigerian revenue, Ghana is spending more on education than Nigeria.

“And we are surprised that Industries are moving to Ghana. We are surprised that the Ghanaian President has become the leading President in Africa? We are not investing in education and human capital.

“We have a 68 per cent missing job requirement and the major areas being IT, communication and decision making. And the completion rate between entry into primary one and completing university is eight per cent, meaning that out of every 100 pupils who go into primary school, only eight come out of university. And out of those eight, nine per cent, which is one of the eight will get a job.

“So, this is the reality in addition to what is happening globally. Now, digitization to level the playing field is required, if we are deliberate and we shift from consumption to value creation. But, part of our problem is that, even when we have the solution at our feet, we do not take it,” he said.

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