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Waiting For GDP Data Of Nigerian States

Streetnomics; Edo Polls; rice selling
Posted: Sep 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm   /   by   /   comments (1)




Although I have chosen to focus on another area I think the Federal Government and, indeed, Dr. Yemi Kale, the Statistician General, and his wonderful team at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) should be looking at Nigeria’s long, windy and bumpy journey to true federalism.

This is if indeed politicians (particularly in the ruling All Progressives Congress) and their collaborators in government decide to return to the path of honour and stop living a lie.

The NBS under Kale had before the last one, been consistent in releasing the nation’s vital economic data around the middle of every month, until the last one that was released two weeks late.

I don’t want to yield to the temptation of believing that delay had anything to do with preparation of the SG’s handover notes, after he completed his first five-year term. (I hear the GDP data for August will be out tomorrow, September 16, 2016, returning to initial arrangement.)

In any case, as we pray for the government to fulfil its promise of giving Nigerians true federalism, a campaign promise that won’t go away despite the amount of denials until Abuja comes to terms with it, it is time for the NBS and Dr. Kale to go a step further by deconstructing Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on state basis. This will among other things help to measure and monitor the growth and development of each of Nigeria’s 36 states, perhaps in comparison, just as it could open the eyes of stakeholders to the enormous opportunities and comparative advantages available in case we were blinded by political exigencies all along.

We have faced with a situation where chief executives and local government councils now rely on handouts from Abuja monthly to even run their offices. That is why when there is delay in holding the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting or there is a drop in what is available for sharing, there is great discomfort in the land.

Alhaji Abubakar Sanusi III, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, now Emir of Kano, noted last week, for example, that Lagos accounts for 30% of the nation’s non-oil GDP. That is good to hear. However, we need more of such data and encourage each state to become known for something, as was the case in the First Republic when every region depended on what it could rake from its resources, rather than waiting on fatigued federal purse to do basic things as paying salaries and buying stationery.

It would be interesting to know what the state contributes to the common purse. We all went astray from the path charted by our national heroes, using the Handel analogy, abandoned the groundnut pyramid in Kano; cocoa in the West; oil palm in the South-South and South-East; and rice in the core North, among others.

Following the discovery of oil came the era of free money from crude and laziness in government became the order of the day.

Nigeria was a giant in oil palms production and there is the story that Malaysia came to take oil palm seedlings from here and our dear native land today imports palm oil. In fact, apart from oil palm abundance which made the government site Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin City, Edo State, a state that was also renowned for rubber, most of whose trees had been felled and used for firewood shamefully. Yet, a nation like Indonesia, in Asia, accounts for 52% of the world’s palm oil trade and 27% of the world’s rubber trade. Why can’t Edo State invest in both crops just like Cross River State in rubber plantation?

I remember, as corps members in Calabar, we envied our colleagues that were lucky to serve in Pamol Nigeria Limited, a rubber and oil palm plantations company owned by Dunlop Nigeria. Why is that state not earning big from such resources? Because it has been allowed to rot, just the way Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc was murdered by our collective negligence; the way Oluwa Glass Plc, also in Ondo State died.

Today, Dunlop Nigeria is simply DN, a marketer of imported tyres; that means sustaining jobs abroad, while our graduates roam the streets hoping for a tomorrow that seems to have gone on sabbatical.

How has the groundnut pyramid since disappeared; how cocoa that was used to build the South West was relegated to the background such that Cote d’Ivoire raked $3.58 billion in 2014 from cocoa? Brazil with its entire manufacturing prowess, still finds time to play big in agriculture, raking in $27.9 billion from soybeans exports in 2015, which is today its largest foreign exchange earner.

By maximising their potentials in some of these crops, states in Nigeria can indeed become great and rich, without having to go queue every month-end for pittance from oil in Abuja. Lagos has since the days of Bola Tinubu as governor relied for the bulk of its budget spend on non-oil earnings, taking advantage of where nature has placed it along the coastlines.

It is only in that way that states in Nigeria can begin to be ranked bigger in GDP than some African economies, the way California, a state in the U.S, is ranked sixth largest economy in the world, larger than all of France or Brazil, generating the bulk of its earnings from non-oil products.

Despite this, California is known for Hollywood, why not Oyo, Osun and Ogun in like manner for Yoruba Nollywood and Enugu, Imo and Anambra for the Igbo variant; and Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna for the Hausa.

Why can’t Ondo State be the powerhouse of Cocoa in Africa and its GDP equated with that of Cote D’Ivoire, for instance, or Edo and Cross River competing with Indonesia for oil palm and rubber?

When will Dr. Kale’s NBS begin to give us GDP numbers for the various states of Nigeria so that we begin to compare the likes?

By Kingsley Ighomwenghian

Comments (1)

  • Sep 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm Emmanuel

    For how long can we wait for these?

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