• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Economic reforms by industrial revolution – a practical approach (1)

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 China has been acclaimed, very recently by a Ukrainian international relations expert, to have fulfilled the fastest industrial revolution in history. This recognition is based on the huge economic achievements China has made since the nation adopted reforms and opening-up policy about 30 years ago. Can Nigeria likewise now play a big role on the world stage? In my opinion, the answer is in the affirmative because we are naturally endowed and divinely disposed with all it takes, the potentials are there for us to successfully come onboard the global economic spotlight. All it takes is the implementation of a determined, strategic and well-articulated action plan of the Federal Government by investors and stakeholders for the desired impact on the economy.

The Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga has so far has done creditably well. He put in immense efforts at actualising this goal by the policy initiatives taken to flag off programmes and projects in 2011. I want to urge him to further put in more selfless efforts in this specified direction. He must not be President Goodluck Jonathan to write his name in gold in the annals of Nigeria’s history. I must as well say at this juncture that Aganga can be that Deng Xiaoping Nigeria is looking for, that his stewardship can contribute towards a total transformation of our economy through economic reforms. I therefore urge him to put in more zeal and expand our economy because he is privileged to be where he is today at this strategic moment. Let this opportunity not slip off his fingers – for the purpose of history. He should catch the vision and be a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s economic history. If he does, Nigeria will ever remember that he was instrumental to its economic reconstruction because majority of poor Nigerian masses are suffering in the midst of plenty! As in the days of the Chinese paramount leader who even risked his life in diverse ways, including going to war in different battlefields from the time of the Long March in 1934 to 1949 for the Communist Party of China, the minister should assume the role in developing our economy and transforming the living standard of tens of millions of the very poor Nigerians through a “Nigerian Welfarist thinking” economic reform. All the other federal ministers are, of course, involved in this onerous task and will also partake in reaping the corporate glory, eventually.

I cite the Chinese example frequently because China is currently on the front burner of the world economic spotlight having successfully achieved the target as the fastest-grown economy in the world for about 30 years of her reforms and opening up. It has indeed set a good example of a rapidly progressing power for Nigeria to emulate economically, specifically for our Vision 20-2020.

 As a team, all Nigerians should strategically and collectively target to build a dynamic economy, a modern industrial nation with a skilled workforce and a philosophical shift from an industry-starved economy. That will positively change the tide of our economic reform programme, which I may now call “capitalist open market economy armed with welfarism in Nigerian characteristics” for backward integration. This reform programme shall directly touch our agricultural, oil and gas, science and technology, and industrial sectors. In controlling our economic activities, there must be flexibility on economic planning by the FG alongside the market forces because there is bound to be challenges along the line. But that will not deter us as we strive to become a prosperous industrialised economy. This policy initiative by industrial revolution will enhance our economic decision-making of proven effectiveness on productivity. It will improve the role our economic system will play in transforming our social values and the standard of living of majority of the Nigerian populace. This will happen when, in all the 774 LGAs of the 36 states and the FCT, Nigerians are actively involved as stakeholders, directly or indirectly, in making sure that their “own” given manufacturing firms in their localities are jealously guarded from shutting down or unnecessary breakdown in productive operations, bearing in mind the monumental impact of the opposite to their wellbeing. This responsibility lies with the power and energy providers within the economy, being a critical infrastructure for provision of dedicated, sustainable and uninterrupted power supply to industries across the country to meet demand, fast-track industrial growth, and also position investors to compete favourably in the international market.

Dangote Group is already breaking fallow grounds into so many areas of our industrial sector, but when we are reminded that Africa’s share of the global trade (not even Nigeria’s) is only a paltry 3 percent, we will then appreciate our level of backwardness in the global industrial development. The fact that the entire continent has been exporting raw materials instead of finished goods, i.e., high value-add products, that would have been domestically processed from raw materials sourced locally from either agricultural, oil and gas or any other sector reveals the urgency for industrial revolution in the country if our economy must have a meaningful rapid growth. China’s GDP for 2012 alone stood at $8.24 trillion, being the world’s second largest (by an average annual growth of 9.3 percent) when compared with combined nominal GDP of $14.9 trillion for the five BRICS countries as of 2013. This paints a clear picture of what high productivity from domestic production does for a country with respect to her exports in the international market. China has managed to reasonably maintain its trade surplus at 3 percent of its GDP for 2011 and 2012, which is a reasonable level by international standards. It is clear that it is by industrial revolution that our domestic manufacturing firms can aid our economy to solve the critical problems of GDP growth, unemployment, wealth creation (poverty eradication) and balance of payment. I am therefore of the opinion that this economic issue has not at all defied all solutions for the nation’s rapid economic growth and development, hence this contribution. The basic strategy requires that we change the tide economically by utilising our numerical advantage and transforming it into productive advantage along any given value chain in the course of this imminent industrial revolution. It is an only option left for the Nigerian economy. 

 

SUNNY NWACHUKWU

Nwachukwu writes from Onitsha,

Anambra State.

[email protected]

 

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