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Obi: Govt should borrow economic ideas from China, not money

The Federal Government has been advised to focus more on borrowing economic ideas from China, rather than taking loans. Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, who gave this advice, said this would be more beneficial to the country than pumping borrowed funds into the economy. He stated that if Nigeria emulated China’s economic development plan, it would pay the country better than taking loans that risk being mismanaged. Obi made this remark at the 60th Founder’s Day Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, noting that China had gone through different stages of national development to arrive at their present level.

The former Governor of Anambra State argued that China that could only boast of a GDP per capita of $960 in the year 2000, had grown to a GDP per capita of $10,275 in 2019, with a High Human Development Index of 0.798 in 2019 as against 0.594 in 2000. According to him, the huge economic development seen in China was as a result of huge investment in the MSME sector which drastically reduced unemployment and increased government revenue. “MSMEs in China, which constitute about 95 per cent of Chinese firms, account for 60 per cent of China’s GDP and contribute more than 65 per cent of the import and export business in China.

“They also contributed about 50 per cent of the overall tax revenue of government MSMEs and constitute about 95 per cent of all enterprises in China. China’s GDP is today about $14 trillion, which means that 60 per cent translates to about $8.4 trillion – about 21 times the GDP of Nigeria. “MSMEs account for over 60 per cent of industrial output and provide over 60 per cent of the overall employment and 80 per cent of urban employment in China.

Talking about the growth of the MSMEs, 10 years down the line, 60 per cent of these MSMEs have shown to become large corporate when compared with Nigeria that 96 per cent are still at the micro stage.

“China has about 840 million people employed (which is 60 per cent of the population) and MSMEs provide 60 per cent of these, which is 500 million people. In urban employment, the contribution of MSMEs is even greater; 80 per cent of urban employment is attributed to MSME; of about 500 million people employed in urban areas, MSMEs employ 400 million,” Obi said.

He further said that China had planned to create 50 million jobs from 2015-2020, which is 10 million annually and is religiously following the plan year-on-year. “In fact, China has consistently surpassed its annual target. China has an unemployment rate of only 3.7 per cent,” he noted.

 

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