Nigeria’ Development: 20:50 May Be Realistic!

Nigeria’ Development: 20:50 May Be Realistic!


By Idumange John


In Nigeria, governance and indeed politics is seen as business; and like shylock money lenders, those who invest in electioneering campaigns or sponsor politicians
are expected to be compensated with plum contracts- sometimes over-inflated to
make them supper rich at the expense of the people. The practice of marketization of politics has led to godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
Unfortunately, development issues and policy impmentation processes cannot be
subjected to the market forces or godfatherism.


Since the odd phrase “economic meltdown” became a mantra following the crash of the major financial systems around the globe, I have taken more than a passing interest
in strategic Management. I had conjectured that the melt-down was a result of lack
of strategic visioning on the part of the Breton Woods institutions and those
swinging the pendulum at the commanding heights corporatism
in Asia and Latin America. I dare
say Africa is just a periphery, generally regarded as a burden to the rest of
the world. I also reckoned that the
managers of the economy may not have factored-in SWOT and PEST.


The acronym SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. It is an analytical paradigm and a strategic planning widely used for analyzing internal and external environments with a view to attaining a
systematic understanding of a strategic management situations. SWOT also
encourages strategizing and the adoption of coping measures for business
success. The underpinning philosophy of
SWOT analysis is that the strategies adopted by any organization should match
the environmental threats and opportunities with the organization’s weaknesses
in the light of its strengths. Ostensibly, SWOT seeks to establish a strategic
fit between an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses and the
opportunities and threats posed by its external environment.



PEST which stands for political, Economic, Social and technological factors that can affect Assuming government were reduced to a mere business endeavour and the political office
holders were businessmen, the use of
PEST analysis can be an effective for
strategic planning,
marketing planning, business and product development and research reports. PEST
also ensures that the performance of a business is aligned positively with the
powerful forces of change that are affecting business environment


So, if government policies are guided by PEST, then it is necessary for government to consider the political and economic factors such as the legal and regulatory
framework of policies, environmental regulations, industry-specific
regulations, competitive regulations,
political trends, tax regimes and governmental
leadership before estimating what timelines would be required to achieve
certain goals. In addition, PEST would prompt the consideration of economic and
social factors such as
economic
growth
rate, government spending
levels,
unemployment, exchange
rates
, inflation population shifts, education, trends, health, living
standards, and earning capacity. Also technological factors such as inventions,
research,
manufacturing advances, communication
technology must be considered if the goal of government is to attain a
predictable degree of success.


In the area of power, Nigeria has not come anywhere near what was projected. What however is not in short supply is hope, determination and prayer devoid of political will. It was projected that for
Nigeria to move from current position of 41 to number 20 within the next eleven
years, it must rise from her third position in Africa with GDP of $294.8
billion to surpass Egypt and South Africa with $432.9 billion $467.6 billion
respectively. Electricity generation must also increase from the current
position of less than 4,000 megawatts to at least 55,000 megawatts and overall
growth rate must increase from 9.6 per cent it was in 2008 to about 13.5 per
cent each year in the next 11 years. Prof. Anya O. Anya - pioneer Director-General of the Nigeria
Economic Summit Group (NESG), made it clear that Nigeria’s bid to realize
Vision 20:2020 was confronted with myriad inadequacies, the most buffeting
being a gap between the resources available and what is actually required to
make a realistic and credible stab at vision 20- 2020.


The projection that Installed electricity generation capacity to produce the quantum of goods and services required will be 60,000 megawatts (current level is less than 4000 megawatts but projected to be 6000 megawatts
by December 2009, and this would require the injection of $60 billion and an additional investment in
transmission and distribution will be at least $D 30 billion have all fallen
through.


Two other key areas that are necessary for realizing vision 20:2020 are agriculture and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is clearly is the engine that drives economic growth through the capacity to facilitate
innovation and thus enhance productivity, value addition and job creation. The
economic history of the Asian Tigers show that it was entrepreneurship that led
to diversification in the real sectors
of the economy such as manufacturing
industries. This was what the
Meiji Restoration in Japan initiated did
for the land of the ‘rising sun’


Sadly, the Nigerian made Operation Feed the Nation; the Green Revolution and the National Poverty Alleviation Programme have not
achieved this feat. Today, the initiator of OFN, is supper rich and he produces
half of the chickens sold in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Green Revolution was also transformed into a
yellow revolution, with an astronomical increase in the importation of rice and
other staple food. Vision 2010, as was conceived by the bespectacled General was intended to grow the
economy through the promotion of Small and Medium scale industries, providing
access to information relating to opportunities for credit. The vision was a
still born as it was undermined by poverty and inability of government to
provide the basic infrastructure for industrial take-off. The Poverty
Eradication Scheme initially promised to be successful but the way and manner
it was administered reduced it to a routine money sharing business. This is way
our leaders conceive visions and turn around to violate them.



One basic assumption of Vision 20:2020 is that most of government concerns will be privatized but most Nigerian know that
privatization is another term for the
transfer of public assets to private control and those who benefit from such an
exercise are people who have stolen public money. Privatization will also
compound the already precarious
unemployment problem in the country.
Unemployment
will compound Nigeria’s comatose economy
with a view to improving the standard of living of the people. It was also
designed for creating job opportunities and to re-position the economy within
the context of an overall global economy.


Vision 20:2020 also advocates an integrated sectoral planning to enhance linkage and synergy. This will ensure that agriculture, oil and gas and
mineral and metal sectors serve as sources of inputs into the nation’s local
manufacturing industry. However, Nigeria’s over-dependence on crude oil and the
moribund industrial sector and comatose agricultural sector will not allow that
to happen. The cluster based approach to industrialization was designed to which
will turn the six geopolitical zones into economically viable industrial
clusters built around different sectors based on the economic geography. When
Nigeria thrives on a mono-product and leaders adopt short-cut measures to
entrench corruption, industrialization cannot just be possible.


A few years ago we produced NEED (1), and while the impact of NEEDS 1 is yet to be felt or its performance evaluated in the light of contemporary economic
realities, we have come up with NEEDS 2, to tell the world that Nigeria’s home
grown economic strategy is working. In fact some of the clowns in CBN will even
mesmerize the masses that we will soon overtake Malaysia, Singapore Japan and
the Asian Tigers. In a fast globalizing world where knowledge rules the world,
how can Nigeria make progress when our educational system is in terrible
jeopardy?


In spite of the palpable fact that only a hard working people in a well managed economy driven by good governance can bring about development. Problems that
require commonsense solutions are often made prayer points through esoteric
conjuration in a hotchpotch of confused congregation. When people in public
office use public money to patch pot holes, they mark their commissioning
ceremonies with fanfare and eulogize the people to the point of self-delusion.
What has happened to the N300 Billion sunk into road projects when Chief Tony
Anineh was Works and the over $16 billion wasted in the power projects during
the Obasanjo era? Official corruption is obviously a lethal threat to Vision
20:2020.
The economic indicators
are not encouraging growth. In 2009 the
GDP-real growth rate was estimated at 5.30%; this has slumped to 3.80% in 2010.


There is also the challenge of making the economic growth process more pro -poor in inclination, and this can only be possible with a massive injection of funds into agriculture. It would also mitigate the
problem of unemployment harassing the nation.
On the periphery, the performance of the economy seems to have
improved significantly sin the last
seven years witnessed an average growth rate of about 6 per cent.
However, the perceived economic growth has not translated to a decline in
unemployment, poverty and the prevalent misery index. Human development has
remained unimpressive in Nigeria.
The general impression is that most of the variables
used for the preparation of the Vision 20:2020 and forecast were based on
speculations, guestimates and data without
integrity.


The technocrats who prepared the strategy document may not have anticipated the economic malaise stagnating the growth of the nation. Agreed that the Vision 20;2020 was
borne out the zeal to grow the economy, but it is sin on the part of economists
not to scan the environment that where the anticipated development will occur.
In all ramifications Nigeria is a failed State. Nigeria has manifested all the
symptoms of failure in power supply, education, health care delivery services,
roads and other basic infrastructure. Any Nigerian holding a contrary view
should throw open a public debate on the issue. It is because our leaders have
refused to acknowledge our failure that our visions can only end up in the
realm of hallucination, illusion and in extreme cases delusion. Our vision of
becoming one of the 20 greatest economies in the world may become a reality to
some countries in Africa, who have sincere and committed leadership.


The strategic assumptions and imperatives of Vision 20:2020 have been nullified by near lack of business leadership, almost zero level of industrialization and inability of Nigeria to diversify the economy, especially
the failure to explore the abundant resources in agriculture and other natural
resources. In addition, the strategy does not take into account some proven
strategies that can help bring out people from poverty such as social
protection measures and provision of housing and other social services for the
poor. Indeed, the strategy states clearly that “providing new housing stock is
not the only way to meet the demand for affordable housing.


It is in the light of these inadequacies that I here by propose that Nigeria should work towards of the vision in the year 2050, which in my opinion is a more realistic period. The
rationale for this line of argument is that Nigeria now ranks 154th
in the world, thus while we make concerted efforts to accelerate the tempo, the other nations are not stagnant, and no
miracle can make Nigeria to frog-leap the nations ahead of her without broken
limbs. Development is systematic and there can be no frog-leapiing.


Nigeria relies on only crude oil to fund the so called Vision 20:2020, but even the oil and gas sector is not under the control of indigenous entrepreneurs. No peripheral economy depending on a mono-product oil
has ever escaped the resource curse syndrome. Nigeria has been severely afflicted by this
syndrome. For Nigeria to attain vision 2050, the leadership must put in place,
progressive, economic development strategy, improve the skills of the nation workforce,
reduce the cost of doing business and to make available the resources investors
need to compete and thrive in today's knowledge-driven
global economy. It is high time Nigeria moved from the realm of dreaming and
visioning to the solid ground of pragmatic action for accelerated development.



Idumange John - is Director, Development Research Derivatives Limited (DRDL)



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