By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Like the rest of you, I have seen the list of experts President Buhari has put together to form his new economic management team. On paper, the list looks very impressive but whether they will deliver is the litmus test. If they are only there to implement nonsensical policies like Ruga, it is just a waste of talent
(2) When I look at the numbers of economics professors in that group, Nigeria should have her most coherent economic policy ever under this administration. Charles Soludo and Bismarck Rewane alone can tell the president how to double GDP within 10 years. I would have loved it if the team was independent and allowed to implement policies as its sees fit. Or at the worst, the government should just rubber stamp their decisions as was the case with Yakubu Gowon’s National Economic Council made up of the likes of Awolowo, Tarka, Enahoro, Kano, Waziri, etc
(3) I just hope this team is looking at the matter of plastic recycling because it is a timebomb Nigeria is sitting on. Do you know that we are number nine in the world when it comes to the amount of accumulated plastic waste?
(4) Nigeria generates about 32m tonnes of solid waste per year. Of that figure, plastic constitutes 2.5m tonnes. I cannot believe that we generate more plastic waste then industrialised nations like India, Brazil, Germany, the US, the UK, Canada, France, Japan and Italy
(5) Most of this plastic finds it way to our coast. It is only a matter of time before Apapa port is inaccessible because of plastic debris. Do you know that 90% of the world’s sea birds have eaten some form of plastic?
(6) Now, the good news is that people are doing something about it. Adidas for instance had partnered with an NGO called Parley for the Oceans to turn marine pollution into sportswear. In 2019 Adidas expects to make 11m pairs of shoes with Ocean Plastic
(7) It is time Nigeria stepped into the breach. We have the plastic waste, so I want to see is invite Adidas to Nigeria to come and open a plant to manufacture shoes from plastic
(8) This task falls to two gentlemen. Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State. Sanwoolu because the waste is on his shores and Governor Ikpeazu because Aba is the centre of the Nigerian shoe industry
(9) It is no accident that Lagos and Aba are the two filthiest cities in Nigeria. They are full of plastic and are crying out for recycling plants. Can this new presidential economic team please put together proposals for these two governors and get on with wooing the likes of Adidas, Puma, Nike, etc immediately
(10) Anyone who has seen the current state of Aba will know that the city needs a comprehensive economic regeneration plan that is environment-based. Personally, I think the city actually needs a mayor as its challenges are unique. However, let us start off with a plastic recycling plant. Ikpeazu and Sanwoolu, over to the two of you. Personally, I would love to see one plant in each state, with a rail link connecting them