In Q1 2021, Nigeria spent 66% of all imports on manufactured goods; that was N4.5 trillion. On export, about 66% of exports went for crude oil but our receipt was only N1.9 trillion. The implication is this: unless we have import substitution for manufactured goods, our balance of trade will not be good. In other words, there is a high level of imbalance in the balance of payment, and that imbalance is the reason Naira has hit N500/$ in the black market.
How do we solve this problem? I will examine China which is our biggest challenge on trade. Yes, we need to buy less from China, and doing that means we need to make many things we buy from it.
A simple idea we can execute is what I have called “180 Build Plan” which means within 180 days, we can provide 24/7 electricity in six cities in Nigeria (Aba, Osogbo, Uyo, Jos, Potiskum, and Sokoto), by working with renewable energy companies, with backup from Tesla batteries, guaranteeing electricity. We have a real chance of getting light manufacturing up and running.
How do we fund it? Disband N-Power initiative and use the money to provide this electricity. Over time, Nigeria via the private sector will hire more permanent people than give graduates $60 monthly for largely nothing. Then, from these 6 cities, we keep ramping things up.
Ladies and gentlemen, only factories and warehouses (modern and old which include startups, digital, cement, noodles, etc firms) will fix Nigeria’s paralysis as it is easier to cut our import of manufactured goods than improve our export of crude oil.---
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