AfDB’s advisor urges President to target seven per cent GDP growth
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will need to speed up the country’s economic growth, targeting a minimum of seven per cent yearly growth rate to pull the people out of poverty as quickly as possible.
Senior Special Adviser to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Industrialisation, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, gave this charge in an interview. He said such growth momentum would help Nigeria double its gross domestic product (GDP) in 10 years.
Oyelaran-oyeyinka maintained that security and political stability must be pursued at all costs to give the economy headroom. He said though there are short-term macroeconomic issues to quickly deal with, what Nigeria urgently needs was a structural shift in the economy.
He charged the administration to focus on rural modernisation through programmes like the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ).
“SAPZ are located in peri-urban areas rather than in the primate or capital cities. This is how to use a policy to force the structural transformation of the economy. This is a bottom-up reform starting with transforming agriculture while still building the necessary industrial value chains and manufacturing logistics,” he said.
He urged the government to also promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and support the country’s large companies to become regionally and globally competitive.
“Where will South Korea be without the humble origins of its Chaebols, family businesses that we now know globally? One of them is the Korean giant Samsung Electronics which has now surpassed Japan’s Toshiba and America’s Intel to become the world’s top chip producer by revenue.
Beyond South Korean semiconductors, we have Hyundai Motors, which recently became the world’s third largest carmaker after Toyota and Volkswagen – with quality to match. It is a matter of intentionality. Rather than ridicule Nigerian businesses, let us support and incentivise them to raise our nation’s flag. Great countries are branded by their corporate ambassadors: Amazon, Microsoft, General Electric, Ferrari and Mercedes Benz.”
Oyelaran-oyeyinka also counselled the government to incentivise the production of manufactured goods by giving strong support to local firms instead of relying only on natural resources; providing consistent government support for infrastructure buildup and ensuring ease of doing business across sectors.
“The power sector challenges need a military-like solution,” he said.
“Typically, a country’s economy has three main sectors: agriculture, industry and manufacturing as well as services. Poor countries are mired in low-level agriculture, unlike advanced nations with extremely modern and productive agriculture.
“These countries have industrialised agriculture. The Netherlands, a highly advanced industrial nation, exported over 90 billion euros of agribusiness products in 2019.
“To record high economic growth rate Nigeria should do the following: First, move away from crude oil dependence by urgently prioritizing economic and trade diversification including exploiting our vast Gas resource that is being flared. Second, the country should aggressively aim for food self-sufficiency through a combination of land intensification and massive expansion of food production over the next five years. It is a matter of urgency that Nigeria reduces dependence on imports to enhance food security and to develop markets for its farmers and firms that will engage in adding value both for local consumption and exports,” he stated.