In the quest to improve the material wellbeing and
welfare of the citizens, various governments in
Nigeria have over time embarked upon numerous
developmental policies, plans, programmes and
projects. Looking back, it is clear that the economy
has not actually performed to its fullest potential,
particularly in the face of rising population, and enormous
resource endowment.
Undoubtedly, Nigeria and other African countries
need investment and developmental projects from other
countries. Many African countries have low levels of
development and technological advancement, while
countries like China, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Malaysia
etc, though also referred to as developing countries, have
higher levels of technology in railway, power, car plants,
manufacturing, engineering, ICT, space technology and
Since independence, Nigeria has witnessed minimal
industrialisation which does not reflect her level of
resource endowments. Many East Asian countries that
were far behind Nigeria in terms of GDP per capita in the
1970s, today have transformed their economies and are
not only miles ahead of Nigeria, but are also major players
on the global industrialisation chart.
History has it that Malaysia, at the early stage of its
development, procured improved oil-palm and rubber
seeds from Nigeria and became the world’s largest palm
oil producer/exporter and a major exporter of rubber.
Indeed, Nigeria needs to embark upon some major
strategic reform programs with infrastructure and
technological development top on the list of sectors that
need urgent attention. But how then will Nigeria develop
and why should it develop?
These are questions that need urgent answers as they
point the way forward for a country with large population
of over 160million and abundant resources including oil
and gas, bitumen, limestone, zinc, gold, uranium and
As a country, we have to decide what sort of economy
we want to run: Do we want a trader’s economy or
a production-based economy? Ourthought is that a
comparatively advantaged economy like Nigeria should
choose the latter. Second, we need to look at specific areas
of comparative advantage globally and stimulate such
areas effectively in order to create wealth and value for the
We have said it continually that Nigeria is well positioned
to take a leading position in industrialisation and
Information Technology. These fields have the potential
and capability to produce more than oil and gas for Nigeria
if we know what we are doing.
The Government of President Buhari should open its
doors and allow countries such as the Asian Tigers and
other developed economies to come in, especially during
this period of economic crisis, to turnaround economy via
Nigeria will not be the first or last nation to do that.
In fact, economic history contains stories of countries
such as Japan, Germany, France that once had a closed
economy but later opened their doors to foreign investors
and industrialists. The US and Europe initially dominated
the world but later transferred their technology to Japan,
later to China. China has also transferred to less developed
Asian countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. Recently,
these technologies are being transferred to African nations
like Ethiopia and Kenya. This is what Nigeria must allow
to happen for her to catch up with other nations.
Regrettably, Nigeria is still lagging behind in
industrialisation. Except Lagos, there is no other functional
Free Trade Zone. The one in Calabar is moribund. Steel
and Iron mining firms such as Ajaokuta, Delta Steel,
Itakpe Iron Ore, and Oshogbo Steel Rolling Mill which
would have galvanised our industrial base, have been
allowed to rot away despite various industrialisation plans
from 1960 to date.
A major way out of this quandary is through acceleration
of the economy by external sources of money (foreign
investment) and technical expertise. Foreign investment
would serve as means of augmenting Nigeria’s domestic
resources in order to carryout effectively, her development
programmes and raise the standard of living of her people.
Take for instance, China. The country has now entered
a new phase of development, with more attention being
paid to the quality of economic growth, and has resolved
to deal with the surplus of production capacity in its
Moreover, China’s aspiration in production capacity
cooperation is by no means its way of transferring outdated
capacity to less-developed countries, as the world’s second
largest economy knows that only cost-effective equipment
and technologies can succeed in overseas markets.
Nigeria still needs foreign assistance in the form of
managerial, entrepreneurial and technical skills that often
accompany foreign direct investments. Without foreign
investments, Nigeria’s industrialisation will continue to
remain a mirage because no nation does it alone.

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