ECONOMIC analyst Bismarck Rewane has warned that Nigeria needs to enjoy economic growth of between 7% and 8% per annum between now and 2030 if she wants to achieve a gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.5trn required to make live at ease with herself.
Nigeria currently has a GDP of $375bn, which is wholly inadequate for her population of $200m and her annual budget of about $30bn falls far short of the public spending required to provide public services and infrastructural development. Between 1999 and 2015, Nigeria enjoyed an annual GDP growth of about 6% but the economy then went into recession and these problems have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Rewane, the chief executive of the Financial Derivatives Company, issued the warning while delivering a public lecture in Abuja organised by a pan-Nigerian coalition, the Building the Future Forum. His paper titled Building the Future of Nigeria Through Enterprise and Innovation, pointed out that while Nigeria has made some progress in terms of the ease of doing business, there was still a lot more work to be done for the country to achieve its potential.
“The issue, however, is not whether Nigeria has made some achievements and successes but compared to its potential, Nigeria is still a laggard in many respects. Therefore, we have our work cut out for us and if we are going to achieve accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, we need to attract domestic and international capital with its attendant investment multiplier to achieve a GDP level of $1.5trn by 2030 when our population could be 250mn or more.
“We need to grow the economy at least at 7% to 8% a year for five to 10 years based on an investment-led strategy. If we fail to do this very soon, the problems of multidimensional poverty, debt, and insecurity may consume us in the next decade,” Mr Rewane said.
He also noted that the nation needed people with the kind of intellectual depth of vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to make the private sector feel at ease in the policy making community. Professor Osinbajo, who joined the event held on his birthday via zoom, said he was pleasantly surprised that organisers chose to honour him the way they’ve done.
Due to the sluggish economic growth Nigeria has suffered of late, unemployment has ballooned lately, leading to all sorts of social convulsions. Over recent years, insecurity has grown out of control with kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and all other forms of violent crimes spiralling.
Professor Osinbajo has put together several policy papers detailing how Nigeria can get out of the quagmire, especially given the economic devastation the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted upon the country. Among his proposals are the government needs to launch a public works programme to provide mass employment and attention needs to be played to several sectors including clean energy and agriculture.
Mr Rewane said: “We need people in public life who have candour like Professor Osinbajo and more than anything else, we need people like him who can make the private sector feel at ease in the policy-making community. Once again, happy birthday to a leader of the people, societies, and enterprises.”