Former Governor of Central Bank, Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi 11, says the only option for Nigerian government to guide the country to development is to look in the direction of reforms that would make the private sector play a key role in terms of investment.
Sanusi who was a guest speaker at the Kaduna Investment Forum 5.0 on Tuesday, also said that diversity and dynamism in trade were the major determinants of success of the country in the pre-oil economy.
He said with the high and lows in oil driven economy coupled with the vulnerabllity of the economy to trade shocks, there was the need for the government to diversify and invite private sector investments into the areas that would give the nation the neccessary economic boost and launch her to development.
According to him, some of the comoditties diversified that engendered growth of the country then were,Cocoa,Hydes, groundnut,Palm -oil, Cotton and others which made the country to feel little impact of trade disorders
Sanusi said, the only one export economy of the country , Oil, is the reason for the levels of poverty and the reason for the slow pace of growth in the country because of its vulnerabllity to shocks in terms of trade.
“I think we need to be honest in the short and medium term, and realise that the ability of government to steer this country into development is limited in terms of spending, and its best option is to spend a lot of time on business environment reform.and invite private sector investments into this areas.
“Why was Nigeria successful in the pre-oil period? It was Diversification. Dynamism in trading sector and dversity of export base.such as cocoa, rubber palm oil., Ivory,hydes, groundnut, cotton and so on because diversity meant the country was less vulnerable,in terms of trade shock driven by only one export.
“And for those of us in our generation,those of us who have grown up in the oil period,we have suffered on about 3 or 4 ocassoions now.this boom and burst, that has come because of price of oil. We have seen highs and lows,we have seen friends who have become multi millionaires and paupers,we have seen people who sent their children abroad to school only to bring them back.we were growing but we did not diversify.
“That is one.and that explains the huge levels of poverty in the country.It explains the huge levels of inequality in the country.ilt explains the vulnerabllity of the economy to shocks in terms of trade It also explains the relatively slow pace of growth because when Malaysia started,it started from a GDP per capita level lower than Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 1985 .It started from 310 dollars to over 4000 dollars.We started from 345 to 2055 dollars.and now when you add inflation, and add devaluation, and begin to look at purchasing power parity, the GDP per capita numbers actually look inflated .” he said.