What it’ll take Buhari to triumph
By Bayo Ogunmupe
The world has been classified into about five different economies. The largest economies are seven. They are the USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil and the United Kingdom. They are in that order but are not necessarily developed nations.
The group of seven most developed nation are Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy. They are the most industrialized and they guard their fortunes jealously. The G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in the Bravarian Alps, in Germany, comes up on 7 and 8 June this year. The nations of the G7 are united by shared values. They are the pioneers in resolving major challenges of globalisation. Germany which now holds the G7 presidency and is hosting the 2015 summit, wishes to continue making active contributions to the world economy.
The issues on the agenda of the G7 meeting are very concrete. This not only applies to the traditional summit topics of the world economy and foreign and security policy. The German hosts are conscious of the expectations of the developing countries which is why they will be focusing on the expiry of the United Nations millennium Development Goals in 2015. The G7 agenda includes support for independence of women. This involves promoting vocational education and making entrepreneurship more interesting for women. A series of meetings at ministerial level will preceed the summit this June. The foreign ministers of the participating nations met in Lubeck in April while the energy ministers will gather at Hamburg in the beginning of May. Then, the Finance ministers will have talks in Dresden at the end of May.
Poor leadership prevented us from qualifying for membership of such summits. Even, the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa could not suffer our membership, though we have both the population and the oil resources. It is only the MINT group that could accommodate us. That group consists of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. The travails of clueless leadership now thrust only on Muhammadu Buhari the onerous task of revamping the Nigerian economy and creating integrity and transparency images for Nigeria. Those nations classified above have been so classified due to their technological advancement. They have been industrialized by their leaders. Thereby they possess a high degree of economic clout occasioned by their technological capacity.
Thus, those nations have come to wield such immense influence and respect among the comity of nations. This means industrialization is the backbone of economic development of any nation. The aspiration by Nigeria to be among the 20 top economies in the world by 2020 so as to transform Nigeria from an agrarian society to an industrial country should be pursued vigorously. Economists like Prof. Adedoyin Soyibo of the Ibadan school of economics have avowed the possibility of Nigeria attaining a development miracle in ten years, given transparent leadership. Though, this looks impossible at the moment with 170 million Nigerians depending mainly on oil. Besides, unemployment is rising yearly with many school leavers being unable to get jobs.
Moreover, other problems such as falling standard of education, weak institutions, weak information, communication Technological (ICT) capacity and leadership failure abound to keep us stymied. But in spite of these problems, Nigeria’s expectations are very high for the President elect Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari to solve. But we must realize that these problems have persisted for long that all of us must work very hard to solve them. With the rebasing of the Nigerian economy, our Gross Domestic Product in 2014. Nigeria ranked the 26th largest economy in the world. We have a GDP $454 billion. This made our economy bigger than those of South Africa, Denmark, Malaysia and Singapore. Certainly, the rebasing was politically motivated in order for Goodluck Jonathan to gain cheap popularity. Because the level of poverty in Nigeria does not reflect a comparable statutory prosperity. On the quality of life Nigeria cannot compare favourably with Singapore for example.
According to the UNDP Human Development Index report of 2014, the standard of living, life expectancy, literacy, education and quality of life show that Nigeria ranks 175th while Singapore ranks 34th out of 185 countries so measured. Nigeria is rated as a low human development nation while Singapore is rated as a high human development country. The UNDP further reports that Nigeria isn’t a country recording any remarkable progress in its human development index as against claims by Jonathan’s advisers that Nigeria’s economy is robust and resilient. According to UNDP, life expectancy in Nigeria is 52 years while 68 per cent of Nigerians live with one dollar a day. For Singapore, it ranked second after Switzerland in the world’s top ten economies in 2014.
In fact, like most African states, Nigeria’s economy is inert since most of our foreign reserves is spent to buy foreign goods and technologies. Much has also been frittered away on such trite issues as constitutional amendments, National Conference and the Transformation Agenda. What it will take Buhari to triumph, therefore is to prune the cost of governance, keep electricity privatized, privatise the refineries and set up a national full employment programme, to keep every Nigerian working. Indeed, the most urgent duty of Alhaji Buhari is to restore electrical power to its optimum capacity. This he can do by installing a board of experts with power to invite and pay foreign power generating companies. There is yet another option, let the federal government buy 30 per cent equity in every state institution privatized. Through the 30 per cent they can send spies into those institutions to observe what is going on there. For the past 30 years, Nigerians have imbibed corruption as a habit. The best way to rid Nigeria of corruption is to privatise every department or agency of government wherever possible. Like Adedoyin Soyibo said in his book: “Images: Prologue to Africa’s Development and Economic Renaissance,” let us adopt the emulation strategy of following the way that saw development in the advanced industrial societies of the West. Soyibo went on to say that what Nigeria needsis trade not aid. This is imperative when we consider the level of trade in the world. In Africa, trade among states is only 12 per cent. Whereas in Asia it is 48 per cent, in North America it is 47 per cent while in Europe it is 70 per cent. Let Buhari increase trade between Africans such we become the industrial hub of the continent. To privatise NNPC, let us look to how other OPEC members are managing their oil companies. All Buhari needs to do is to imitate and invite other nations for assistance. All things are possible to him that believeth.