• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Economic reforms by industrial revolution – a practical approach (3)

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 Having taken a forensic look at the wonderful performance recorded so far by the IEPL, let us observe and acknowledge, sincerely, that “we are our own worst enemies”! If we realise and also agree that our destiny is in our hands, how then did we give room for the national reproach that has befallen us economically? It also appears that we have not yet learnt our lessons from our past mistakes. For nearly five decades we have completely sold out; our leaders have consciously misused power and turned a blind eye to golden opportunities that would have grown and developed our economy – they have rather pursued inordinate and self-serving ambitions, amassing wealth at the expense of our national economic growth. We, collectively, sacrificed opportunities of economic growth on the altar of greed and lack of patriotism, opportunities that would have been utilised in building a futuristic, viable economy through the provision of critical infrastructure, growth-driven institutionalised government structures (states and federal alike) that would have otherwise installed a sustainable progressive economic system.

Now what has become of all government-owned domestic manufacturing heavy industries in all sectors? Honestly, our “sick” real sector has greatly exposed our national shame before the entire world. It’s sad when we look back at all the laudable gigantic projects of yesteryears that are now comatose (or better still, moribund) and which we refer to as “abandoned projects”. We can go on to give a litany of such and their respective locations in different parts of Nigeria. The erstwhile EPCL earlier discussed is a proof of the shame and ignorance of our past leaders, although it has been revitalised following its privatisation by the Federal Government and is now seen as an excellent model of PPP with its success story. Why then do we cry wolf about national security challenges in the country when we are the cause of our problems? We have not even mentioned the issue of the pension scam (ah… money due to our aged senior citizens!).

Another embarrassing issue to be remembered here is the most recent scandal surrounding the fuel subsidy palaver – revolving around and among privileged Nigerians – all as a result of the age-long rot  within the management of our so-called national oil company, the NNPC, since its inception in the 1960s and its operation of the local refineries. Consider the exploits the Ivoriens are recording with their local refineries that solely depended on Nigeria for supplies of raw material, crude oil. Today, PIB is still being dragged on the floor of the Senate. “Abandoned this, abandoned that”! Where is our nationally-built multi-billion steel rolling complex – Ajaokuta Mill – today? Or the one in Udu LGA – Delta Steel Complex, Aladja? Nigerians, please remember also the multi-billion paper factory at Okuiboku along with the state-owned vegetable oil plant at Nachi in Enugu State (AVOP), and the Avutu Poultry and Ada-Palm projects in Imo built by late Sam Mbakwe. We all know why Michelin and Dunlop Tyres abandoned their Nigerian base and relocated to Ghana. The same reason is why over 90 percent of the privately-owned heavy industries all over the country (including steel plants, beverages factories, hotels, textile mills, biscuit factories, and so on) shut down – lack of adequate power supplies to run their productive operations, among many other bottlenecks facing the local manufacturers in the real sector. For an economy to make sustainable progress, the real sector demands encouragement and serious support from the government with a close monitoring and positive response by way of offering needed assistance to avert any lost time incidents whenever they are faced with obvious problems and challenges in the society.

Radical reformation by our present leaders requires that the less privileged, the very poor masses in our system must be released from the shackles of poverty by way of getting them employed. Create an enabling environment for the unskilled, daily-paid, low-income earners (for their “chop-money”) through activation of industrial revolution in the society. This will reduce tension and insecurity in the land because “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”. Revive the old institutions that will give hope to most Nigerians, that will daily reassure of a hopeful future and make them not to nurture desperation, “rushing to die” daily due to hopelessness and perplexity. In our generation, the destiny of many Nigerians has been trapped and hidden away in “political prisons” with failed policies, having their lives and future totally plundered. We must be willing now to revamp the nation’s economy by revolutionising the entire real sector. With this completely restored, our land, our society will know peace. However, effective and prudent management insists that there must not be wastage of resources if a business venture targets to achieve success. This is within the ambit of fundamental business principles that demand observance of diligence, industry and resilience. This observation equally demands a great deal of resourcefulness, excellence, commitment and patriotism from the citizenry at all levels towards a successful national economic growth and high productivity. Zeroing down to basics on how the nation can practically tackle this proposal of industrialising the economy, a detailed brief with a workable suggested list of petrochemicals products from the downstream oil and gas sub-sector (this chosen area offers a whole lot of investment opportunities to potential investors) with strategies and means of having them processed locally are outlined here. The Nigeria energy sector (oil and gas) could actually be of enormous importance when aggressively approached towards realising this project, considering the immense potentials it offers for petrochemicals development and its very attractive domestic market for local consumers within the real sector of the same economy.

 

SUNNY NWACHUKWU

Nwachukwu writes from Onitsha,

Anambra State.

[email protected]

 

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