Experts say that the recently announced rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP has only elevated the status of Nigeria in terms of economic size and not necessarily shown that there was more prosperity for Nigerians.
They noted that while this was a positive move and a great achievement for the country, it is just one of the steps needed towards developing the economy for the purpose of making measurable impact on the people.
Sunrise on Channels Television played host to the MD of Cowry Asset Management, Johnson Chukwu, who noted that the structure of the economy was the reason why the obviously well represented growth of Nigeria’s economy was not reflecting on the populace where there were still many Nigerians living in poverty.
He noted that Nigeria has kept producing more millionaires in recent years, showing that there was indeed growth but the wealth has not been made to spread evenly. He stated that there was need for the country to develop structures in sectors that would amount to job creation.
Financial Analyst, Odilim Enwegbara, who was also on the programme said that Nigeria’s economic growth was not real sector driven and Nigeria needs to redefine its growth.
He noted that the over-dependence of the economy on oil and gas remains one of the issues. He said; “show me any Nigerian billionaire that is not involved in oil and gas.”
He also emphasized the low level of development in the manufacturing sector in the country as a major issue. While acknowledging the positive impact the growth in some of the sectors would have on Nigerians, he noted that most of the businesses that have contributed to the celebrated growth were not indigenous companies run by Nigerians.
Reacting to Nigeria’s status as having become the largest economy in Africa, he took time to make a comparative analysis of the differences between South Africa and Nigeria in terms of economic indices which shows that South Africa remained ahead of Nigeria in terms of the quality of impact its economic state has on the people.
He cited the population of Nigeria as a major factor that makes the country’s economy demand better management.
The informal sector was also identified not to have been captured in the rebasing. Mr. Chukwu said that it would almost be impossible to capture all the petty traders and small shop owners in the calculations but he expressed confidence that the quality of work done on the exercise indeed took special focus on them, with an appreciable percentage of them captured.
He maintained an earlier stance that the rebasing was not expected to amount to more money for the average Nigerian, but its ability to attract more foreign direct investment to develop the local industries would eventually add value to the people through direct and indirect jobs.
Mr Enwegbara added that the rebasing was an exercise for the Government to know which sectors to focus on for the purpose of growing the economy and not one that the everyday Nigerian understands, let alone feel its direct impact.
He recommended the dire need for Nigeria to diversify its economy and solve the problem of power supply as the most important solution to the economic hardship that Nigerians were facing.
Speaking passionately on the need for the Nigerian authorities to take major decisions, he also mentioned other infrastructural deficiencies in the country as a major barrier to any form of growth being envisaged.
Mr. Chukwu on his part noted that the country cannot totally be independent as it was a consuming nation and it would need to encourage the availability of more businesses providing daily needs as seen in the establishment of shopping malls across the country.
He, however, warned that it was important for the Government to control this sector to ensure that the country imports less and exports more. He also advised that the Government creates a support mechanism for the very poor population in order to boost their consumption capacity and make them active players of the economy, as a strategy to create market for local industry.
He noted that what the best countries in the world do is that they focus on their areas of comparative advantage; something he acknowledged that the Government was doing through agriculture.