We should get it straight, aggregate value of production and services, which is GDP, is not tantamount to income per capita. This is where countries like South Africa have notch above us, as they would equally have above countries like India with huge GDPs and huge population.
However, I strongly think the GDP improvement is pointedly non-inclusive. It is only when it is translated to development that it becomes sustainable. Official graft, which had taken enough toll on us, explains this lacuna between our growth and development, why growth is not commensurately trickling down to the population at its increment rate, and I think we should deal with it head on, while not losing sight of other clues towards improving our productivity.
For instance, true federalism can help enhance our GDP. The idea is that with federalism, economic diversification will be inevitable. Regional economies will be galvanized to optimally unleash their inherent potentials, and the corollary will be increased economic activities in the direction of more FDIs, increased engagements of local labour, and an ultimate booming of national output.
Having said that, I think the new data offers the citizenry the opportunity to raise the bar of expectations of deliverables from government. For government, the new mantra should be ‘translating growth to tangible development’.
Celebrate it for all I care, but Nigerians can’t be bamboozled. All they want to have is light, fuel, security, food, jobs, houses, access to finance to do business and everything that makes life worth living.
So like I said earlier, the rebasing would not immediately put money in our pockets; but it could help to brand our huge market potentials to the world; which could guide investors when they take decisions on the countries to invest their money. MTN, DSTV, Dangote, GLO, etc are all making it because of the huge market potential that Nigeria presents and the rebasing is only there to confirm it for people that need figures to take business decisions.
I am not an economist by profession, but as someone who did quite a bit of economics in secondary school, I will not pretend that the current re-basing of our economy to its current position as Number 1 in Africa (ahead of South Africa and Egypt), and number 26 on the globe (6 positions away from the coveted G20), is not good news. In fact, it’s a positive development. But as someone who has lived in Nigeria, visits relatively frequently, and has keenly followed her socio-economic development, such feelings are bound to become mixed.
The main denominator of the most recent rebasing exercise which catapulted our economy to the top spot is the services sector (e.g Telecommunications, Banking, Transport) which accounted for 51% of our GDP. This is very interesting. If we made Africa’s number 1 (and global number 26) with a virtually non-existent manufacturing sector (we import virtually everything), an informal, mostly non-mechanised agricultural sector, and an in-efficient electricity generating infrastructure, imagine where we would be if these other sectors were functioning even at half their full capacity. And I mention these sectors not because they are only what Nigeria has to offer, but simply because they fit into simple comparative cost advantage economics.
They know the truth and as such should summon the political will to place our country on the path of prosperity. God has given us all we need. It is in our hands to better ourselves.
• quality and availability of employment,
• class disparity,
• poverty rate,
• quality and affordability of housing,
• hours of work required to purchase necessities,
• number of paid vacation days per year,
• affordable access to quality health care,
• quality and availability of education,
• life expectancy,
• incidence of disease,
• cost of goods and services,
• political stability,
• environmental quality,