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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Buhari's Economic Plan By Arthur Ibeneme


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I'll throw my first punch by stating what I've always said, I have a problem with the block heads that run this country because they don't have a passable grasp of economics, they believe agriculture and the extractive industries is the future of the Nigerian economy in a world with Elon Musk and Tesla.
Just yesterday, London tested it's first self driving shuttle on the streets of London. Did you see that picture of our brother Ogbonnaya Ọnụ, Buhari's minister of Science and Technology test driving​ a wooden car in a country that has Innoson motors? How did we end up with this incompetent new Sheriff?
In the past decade, the tech industry has gradually taken over the world's economy. Data and content is the new oil, with 5 out of 6 world's most valuable public companies in tech according to Forbes. But our leaders are talking about self sufficiency in agriculture! What a bugaboo!
Who will tell our leaders that the average young Nigerian would rather do yahoo yahoo than go into farming? OK let me rephrase, who will help them understand that agriculture and solid minerals cannot and should not be be the only long term plan for wealth creation and tackling unemployment? This is because at some point, a serious venture will mechanise and automate it's processes and with automation comes job losses and layoffs.
To be competitive and relevant in those fields​, one must possess some specialised set of skills and expertise which do not come easy and cheap. It's therefore not ideal for massive employment generation in the long term for a country of 190m people, in a recession and with an estimated 70% youth unemployment. I believe Nigeria should look in the direction of trade, manufacturing and the service industry for economic recovery.
I'm not against investments in Agric and the extractive​ industries, I really don't mind developing the entire value chains in both sectors if that is the plan. However, I want them to envision the place of Nigeria 10 years from now, in a fast competitive global economy. Our leaders should understand that we can't exist in isolation. Nigeria is an integral unit of a globalized society, driven by information and running a knowledge-based economy.
More emphasis and efforts​ should be in education, innovations and providing commensurate infrastructure and financial access for Nigerians to thrive in this competitive global economy. It's either we do that or get left behind, it's that simple!
While launching the #NERGP, our president made a promise to change Nigeria for good, build a country that grows what it eats & produces what it consumes. Those are lofty dreams I agree but a dream nevertheless. When you look at it more critically, you'll realise this is just one of those classic rhetorics that filled our social studies text books in JSS2.
Besides, wasn't he supposed to have launched​ this plan in 2015, or was it an intentional strategy to waste 2 years of our lives and plunge the country into recession? Lest I forget, HRH the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi just said the economic model won't work.
The president and his team have not said anything new, it's still that same "return to the subsistence farm" and eat what we grow cliché. In the president's speech during the launch, I didn't hear things like mechanise the processes to accelerate production or use data to enhance production, market analysis, access to finance, etc. All we heard was agriculture and natural resources will provide job opportunities, bla bla bla.
In the mean time, how do we get out of recession or do we die of hunger and depression first before we begin to implement this roadmap? Is there anything in that plan that will boost investor's confidence? Have they been able to balance our fiscal and monetary policies? Or is the document in partial fulfillment of the World Bank requirements to facilitate credit to the government?
With the way Nigeria is being governed by proxies and the c-in-c indisposed, who is really in charge of implementing this roadmap considering that Osinbajo first launched the #NEGRP on the 6th of February while Buhari was away, what is the significance of Buhari's second launch yesterday if we're to believe they're a team?
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