Nigeria’s economy over the last 47 months has been growing at a pace/rate that breeds/grows incremental poverty and extreme poverty in the land.
Let me break it down further. The growth rate of the economy in 2015 was 2%; 2016 was -1.8%, in 2017 was 0.8% and 2018 was 1·8%.
However, the population growth rate from 2015 to 2019 has consistently been at an average rate of 3% per annum.
This simply means that over the last 47 months, we have actually been in a vicious cycle of growing/deepening poverty and extreme poverty YoY
Our situation is even worsened by the level of our Gini index. We have widespread income and opportunities for inequality. Very wide.
The supposedly rich folks in Nigeria are far less than 1% of the Nigeria population.
Those who earn N60,000/$165 income per month in Nigeria today are just about 8% (15.8m out of estimate population of 198m ) or less than that.
Those who live on less than $1.25/N452 income per day, extreme poverty hole are inching towards the 100m population Mark.
Aside from the wide income inequality (Gini index), the most atrocious of the whole situation is the Opportunities inequality in Nigeria.
Let me give you clear illustrations to buttress this. Last week, the Customs and Excise Department announced plans to recruit 3000 Nigerians. They have already opened an e portal to commence the exercise. But every Nigerian, who must be honest to him or herself knows clearly that the 3000 slots have already been shared amongst the political elites. The same happened with backdoor recruitments into the NNPC, Army, Police, CBN, FIRS etc.
I have received countless enquiries from very smart and bright Nigerian youths to ascertain if I know any big man in the agency to help them. These youths know that there is glaring opportunities for inequality in Nigeria. They know that what will determine the final 3000 intakes has nothing to do with merit, competence and competitive/empirical evaluation. They know that it is a dog eat dog, a mediocre woven system that rewards mediocrity and buries excellence. Thus, the incentive to war and pursue excellence ebbs and the desire to join the rat race and vicious pit of perfidy grow.
HOW DO WE THEN ESCAPE THIS VICIOUS CYCLE?
HOW DO WE BUILD AN ECONOMY THAT GROWS FASTER THAN POPULATION GROWTH RATE?
HOW DO WE END THIS ORGY OF DEATH, DESPAIR AND DISENCHANTMENT?
HOW DO WE GROW THE MICRO, SMALL, AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSME) COMPETITIVELY ACROSS THE WHOLE LANDSCAPE OF NIGERIA?
HOW DO WE PUT OUR VAST HUMAN CAPITAL TO PRODUCTIVE WORK?
HOW DO WE END THIS INCOME AND OPPORTUNITIES INEQUALITIES?
Firstly, we have to totally overhaul the current constitutional, fiscal, governance, political and socioeconomic framework of Nigeria back to what we had between 1957 to 1966.
Dust up the documents and frameworks we had then, do minor modifications and present same to Nigerians to enable us to have a new and bright beginning.
I shall come back with other Adhoc nitty-gritty recommendations of how we can continue to limp along until with overhaul this contraption. In the interim, please don’t be deceived by any tales by moonlight from any quarters of the great progress Nigeria is making. There is nothing like that.
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA, MIRA.