Former Central Bank Governor, Mohammed Sanusi (II), says Nigeria has to take economic diversification more seriously in order to experience growth and development.
The former CBN governor who was the guest speaker on the second day of the Kaduna Investment Summit, explained that over-reliance on oil has left the country unproductive.
Referencing Malaysia, Sanusi gave a breakdown of the economic growth of both countries within a 30-year period.
According to him, for Nigeria “there was an increase in wealth but without any structural transformation”.
“We were growing but we did not diversify and that explains the huge levels of poverty in the country, it explains the huge levels of inequality in the country, it explains the vulnerability of the economy to shocks, it also explains the relatively slow pace of growth because when Malaysia started, they started from a GDP per capita level lower than Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 1985. It started from $310 to $4,045 while we started from $345 to $2,055”.
He also stressed the importance of the government creating the right environment and infrastructure for private businesses to thrive.
“One way to look at it is to understand the difference between production and consumption,” he said, adding that “electricity per capita is such a critical determinant for moving people out of poverty”.
Speaking further, the former CBN governor who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency, noted that with the right environment, the country can move away from being only consumers to producers of technology.
He urged the youths also to not only rely on the government but to create opportunities for themselves, including exploring the endless possibilities of their smartphones.
“We need to think over and over again as to how we understand economics and what we see. How do we understand technology or electricity are we consumers or are we producers and that’s why investment in human capital is so important.
“Produce young men who know that they are worth more than just using their phone to import a pair of shoes,” he said.