Now that we have a new Government in Power and the yearning for change is abundant in the air, it is expedient that Nigerians make it clear to the Leaders in power the things expect from them. Analysts agree that if Nigeria attains a diversified Economic landscape with functional infrastructure, it will remain a leading economy, unshaken by the fluctuating price of crude oil. That means the country’s position will hardly be threatened by the unstable price of crude oil in the international market. For now the economy depends largely on oil and it makes it too precarious for sustainability. This means that for this country’s GDP to remain in the lead as the strongest economy in Africa, the country must remain productive in other sectors and remain a force to be reckoned with in those sectors.
Above thesis is a key point in the nation’s socio-economic calculations and the onus lies on those tasked with the provision of infrastructure to toe the patriotic path and live up to the ideals of patriotism. People are eager to witness a new dawn in their socio-economic lives. The nation’s home industrialists wish to mass-produce those commodities desired by other countries. They include textiles, footwears, bags, cosmetics, cars, communication gadgets, building materials, household items, etc. The nation’s furniture industry is of international standard and its products can satisfy the taste of local and international consumers. Nigerian citizens in the movie industry are waxing strong by the day because Nollywood films are in high demand both at home and abroad. Machine parts can be fabricated locally, electric cables, name them have factories that should be operating at installed capacities which would lead to employment of scores of school leavers.
There is high traffic in the components of modern digital technology. Nigerian markets are awash with computer components and these are put together for local markets, which are patronized by consumers both from within and from neighbouring countries. Mobile Phone components too, are in high demand. The best the manufacturers can do is to explore these business opportunities through government providing the enablers. At this point, the doors are wide open for manufacturers of various significant shades and hues to key into the situation of diversifying the nation’s economy, by investing in their areas of specialization.
A major point in favour of these investment opportunities is the country’s population of 170 million which provides ample market for such investments. Government, it is believed, is worried that these enablers are not completely in place. Yet it’s duty is to do everything it can to put them there for investors.
Whether any remarkable progress has been made is a matter for debate. In the area of power supply alone, the picture continues to look gloomy and depressing. After completing the unbunding of the power company, the PHCN management is still not done with the payment of workers’ disengagement benefits. Grievances and frustrations appear to be the order of the day. Until these retirees or disbanded workers are paid off, the programme of having a stable power generation and power distribution companies will remain on an unstable foundation.
Resolving these outstanding conflicts and human problems remains one of the greatest challenges of governance which if settled can raise the nation to its greater height. Need we say more about unbridled exploitation of electricity consumers? From the period of NEPA through PHCN to distribution and generating companies power consumers have been at the receiving end. They pay for electric cables, poles and transformers damaged in course of power consumption, obviously by uncontrollable adverse weather conditions, not by the consumers themselves. But in those days of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) or much better in the era of Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), damaged or disused cables transformers and poles were never paid for by consumers. Governments were responsible. The shifting of responsibilities has transformed into criminal exploitation, through the current outrageous billing system. The pre-paid metre system, introduced by electricity providers have suddenly disappeared from their stock, while analogue system holds sway. The reason is that the latter provides room for corruption in which workers have entrenched themselves. Consumers in Lagos, Onitsha and many other parts of the country have been demonstrating peacefully over what they call “crazy” billing system whereby wildly estimated bills are forwarded to sachet water producers and retail traders for settlement. A stop must be put to this and appropriate steps taken to reactivate the use on a monthly basis of pre-paid metre gadgets.
We must have a strong power supply basis that is free from exploitation and indifference to be able to build a strong platform for the diversification of our national economy. We want more people to be employed in various industries while all factories should be made to tap its energy from the national grid to show the nation’s preparedness to further enrich the Gross National Domestic Product (GDP) and by extension reduce the nation’s security challenges. Corruption has to be terminated forthwith in both civil service and by extension corporate business.
These and Much more are what we expect as a people and with so much hope entrusted on the current administration, we pray that they hit the ground running. God bless Nigeria.