Posted by News Express | 21 March 2017 | 1,839 times
The leaders of our new generation banks; First Bank, Zenith Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, Access Bank and Eco Bank are men of the future. These banks alone could turn Nigeria into the financial hub of Africa. However they too would need the support of the government to move up the ranks in international banking.
Inye, by Encipher, is Nigeria’s first Tablet PC. It was designed in 2009 by Saheed Adepoju who developed android software, but could not find a suitable device to test it. People like Adepoju badly need the help of the federal government to go global. His tablet PC could easily compete with iPad, Samsung and other imported devices, and outperform them in Africa. That is another sure means for foreign exchange earnings.
It is a known fact that tourism alone could earn us more foreign exchange earning than oil. It is both a shame and a national humiliation that Nigeria has not been able to tap into her vast potentials in tourism. The very first thing we must do in this regard is to quickly introduce a policy of visa free entry into Nigeria. Which could include issuance of visa at the point of entry.
Are there other means of earning foreign currency apart from the above mentioned points? Yes, we could explore more options. Let’s go!
DIASPORA: Income generated from the Diaspora has become the second largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in foreign exchange earnings, second only to oil, 21 billion USD.
Moreover Nigerians in the Diaspora are now number 3 overall contributors to Nigeria’s GDP, trailing only Lagos and Rivers State. Lagos state contributes to the Nigerian GDP over 40 billion USD according to the 2013 statistic, Rivers state 22 billion USD, Diaspora 21 billion USD.
As mentioned in one of my previous articles, I personally feel we must establish a ministry of Diaspora and Integration. If we give the Diaspora the necessary support they need, the 21 billion USD they are sending now, could easily be multiplied 10 times giving us a yearly foreign exchange earnings as big as the size of the budget of Russia or France. Notice this is only from the contributions of the Diaspora.
Another source of foreign currency earning could be identified as Economic Zones. The federal government should turn places like Aba, Onitsha, Kano, Lagos, etc into special industrial hubs. I would like to call on the government to try and create special incentives for young Nigerians who are producing, shoes, bags, clothes, jewelries and other miscellaneous products.
The Nigerian government should invest in the expertise of these young people. The government needs to put money into helping them become competitive enough to at least take over the African market. That would earn us a lot of the foreign currency that currently goes from Africa to Europe.
I believe we could easily compete with Asian Tiger Countries that major in mass production of soft industrial products like: slippers, socks, underwear, T shirts etc. Looking at all the boys struggling to sell their products in Lagos traffic during rush hour, we know that we have a huge resource there. We could invest money in all these young people for a mass production of such products for export. Take them off the streets where they are presently constituting a nuisance and empower them to make products good enough for at least the African market. Therein lies our foreign exchange earnings.
One of the very strong areas of foreign earnings for Nigeria could be, investing in young minds, young scientists, and researchers. Nigerians are very creative. If we get behind our young men with brains, we could have a lot of products coming out of Nigeria that are not in any other parts of the world. That would surely bring us a lot of foreign exchange earnings in the long run.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. It is said that 1 out of every 5 black people you meet is a Nigerian. To me that is already a source of foreign exchange earnings. We could turn every Nigerian into a tourist ambassador to bring in foreigners with their foreign currencies to our country. More so if 1 in every 5 black men is Nigerian, then we could provide services to other African countries purely coming from our size and number, thereby earning some more foreign exchange. That is what China, India, USA, Russia are doing all over the world. Size matters!
Nigeria could follow the example of India that is having a huge percentage of their GDP coming from IT specialists. We could put money into encouraging our young people to study computers and convert all those people who are now engaged in internet fraud to use their skills for legal computer expertise that could become a big source of foreign exchange earning to the country.
I also believe that the new Nigerian government should do what President Obasanjo did by identifying macro business men, who are able to lead multinational companies. Nigeria needs to intentionally begin to raise up multinational companies that would be able to build products across all continents of the earth. Nigerian alternatives to companies like: McDonalds, General electric, General Motors, Hilton Hotel, Coca cola, Microsoft, Apple, etc. the only difference is these companies will be coming from Nigeria.
Dear friends, the point that I am trying to make in this article is that, we should see Nigeria and her economy the way it is. I am not saying we should paint a picture that is not realistic or tell lies about our prospects. But I also don’t want us to reduce our significance and potential through inaccurate statements and utterances.
In the world today, Nigeria is seen as an emerging market. It is estimated that between now and 2050 Nigeria would be the number one country in economic growth rate. Standing a good chance of overtaking countries like Britain, France, etc.
It is important that all Nigerians know that, thanks to the economic policies of President Obasanjo’s regime from 1999 to 2007, Nigeria’s economy is no more 75% dependent on oil. Yes, our foreign exchange earning is still 75% dependent on oil but we can fix that as I have just proven above.
It is vital that Nigerians know and speak the truth about their country. If they only hear negative and evil reports about the country, the natural response would not be to stay and build, but to escape and run away. In the same vein there would also not be incentives for the Diaspora to want to come back.
It is especially crucial for Nigerians to get the right picture of their country and her prospect in global economy. Particularly now that there is presently a big dip in the price of oil.
Some Nigerian’s may begin to panic thinking we are doomed as a nation, because of the fall in the price of oil. No, no, no, we are not doomed. Oil is only 8% of our economy. Nigeria has a great future, with or without oil.
•Dr. Sunday Adelaja is a Nigerian born leader, Transformation Strategist, Pastor and innovator who lives in Kieve Ukraine. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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