Financial expert, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, has predicted that Nigeria may be consumed by mass poverty, debt and insecurity if the country fails to grow the economy between 7 and 8 per cent annually, in the next five to 10 years.
He gave the prediction yesterday in Abuja while delivering the public lecture titled, “Building the Future of Nigeria through Enterprise and Innovation,” at a special public lecture organised by a Pan-Nigerian coalition, Building the Future Forum (BTFF), to mark the 64th birthday of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. Rewane, who is Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, noted that given the projected population explosion of over 250 million by 2030, Nigeria must be able to achieve $1.5 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next nine years.
Harping on the need for sustainable growth, he disclosed that recovery of stolen assets was not sufficient to solve all the problems of Nigeria, especially management of resources. He added that innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship do not necessarily guarantee success as they may not deliver desired outcomes.
He said: “Nigeria today has made remarkable achievements in the ease of doing business matrix. Nigeria is the leading country according to the Economist Pocket Book of Figures with 39.9% of its citizens either as nascent or direct entrepreneurs. The issue, however, is not whether Nigeria has made some achievements and successes, but compared to its potential, Nigeria is still a laggard in many respects.
“Therefore, we have our work cut out for us and if we are going to achieve accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, we need to attract domestic and international capital with its attendant investment multiplier to achieve a GDP level of $1.5 trillion by 2030 when our population could be 250 million or more.
“We need to grow the economy at least at 7-8% a year for 5-10 years based on an investment-led strategy. If we fail to do this very soon, the problems of multidimensional poverty, debt, and insecurity may consume us in the next decade.”
Rewane, who extolled Osinbajo’s leadership qualities, said although he made things happen in his journey through the academic, legal and religious circles, however, “he has also tried to make things happen in the difficult terrain of Nigerian politics.”
“I have also watched closely the various interventions in removing bottlenecks in the way of businesses in Nigeria with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) initiatives. “We need the intellectual depth of academics like Prof. Yemi. We need Godfearing clerics like Professor Oluleke.
We need people in public life who have candour like Prof. Osinbajo and more than anything else, we need people like him who can make the private sector feel at ease in the policy-making community,” he said. Osinbajo, who linked up to the special public lecture via Zoom, noted that when someone initially gave him the Zoom link to join the event being streamed online, he was really surprised