(1) Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags
(2) Private jets
(3) Foreign four wheel drive vehicles
(4) Designer clothing
(5) Expensive phones like iPhones and Samsung
(6) Communication gadgets like iPads, laptops and desktop computers
(7) Junkets in posh holiday resorts like Dubai
(8) Gym and fitness equipment
(9) Food items we import in large quantities like fish, sugar, wheat and rice
(10) Petrol and other petroleum by-products
When the cost of importing these items adds up to about half of our annual budget, how on earth will Nigeria not remain perpetually under-developed? We simply have to stop spending scarce foreign exchange on items like this.
To do this, we must either stop consuming these products or start producing them locally. I still ask myself how we as a people developed a taste for goods we do not produce.
Nigerians like to blame the corrupt elite for all their woes but we as a people are equally culpable. If we do the number crunching, you will find that wasted foreign exchange actually costs Nigeria more than corruption each year.
Those of you who are economists know the impact of balance of trade and payment deficits. If Nigeria exports $40bn worth of primary products annually but imports $50bn worth of consumer goods, we are in a crisis, even if there is zero corruption in the country.
When a clergyman goes and buys a Gulfstream private jet and it costs him $5m to maintain it annually with the Italian manufacturer, the impact on the Nigerian economy is no different from a minister stealing $5m and lodging it in an Italian bank. It is Nigeria losing $5m worth of foreign exchange!