The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Nigeria as the 115th country out of 140 on global competitiveness. If you attended the same secondary school I attended (Secondary Technical School Ovim, Abia State), and came anywhere that far, you would get the principal time. When that happens, it means you are in real trouble because you are failing irrespective of your scores. So, Nigeria did not do well. That is not news: the big issue is that the city that makes Nigeria look great is going through big major structural redesign. Lagos is chronically sick with the traffic congestion and if that is not fixed, Africa’s 5th largest economy may experience severe diminishing returns by 2030. The solutions put to address the traffic problems have been largely transient and ephemeral.
Nigeria has been ranked 115th out of 140 countries assessed in the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) of the World Economic Forum (WEF), an official has said.
A statement issued by Jumoke Oduwole, senior special assistant to the president on industry, trade and investment, office of the vice president, on Monday in Abuja said that the report was released on October 17.
She said that the report showed improved performance across key enabling business environment indicators and suggested an overall improvement in the country’s competitiveness.
The GCR is an annual ranking which compares the national competitiveness environment of 140 countries based on 12 pillars – four grouped under basic requirements, six under efficiency enhancers and two under innovation and sophistication factors.
Yes, Lagos needs help – everyone wants to move to Lagos. It is the ultimate center of excellence where a boy comes with a nylon bag and returns to village with a car. It has something for everyone, and any person can find value in Lagos. This system has created a challenging situation where Lagos has become extremely overpopulated and there is no tangible model to manage this paralysis.
That brings me to this question: What can be done? I have noted a solution.
I propose for Lagos state government to begin immediate discussions with neighboring states to move some of the business hubs therein. Do not bank on that though, as doing so will mean that Lagos will lose some tax revenues to the states. So, for Lagos state government, that would not be a good idea, even though it may help the region!
Yet, what we have in Lagos is not sustainable – this city will crash under severe traffic, in ten years, if nothing strategic is done. The Atlantic City should have been built in Ogun State to re-distribute traffic from the Island to the Mainland. All that Lagos State needs to do is to work out a tax revenue sharing formula with the neighboring states.
But that is easier said than done since Nigerian law is still primitive in that space on where earnings or incomes are taxed. Afterall, Nasarawa State houses most people that work in Abuja, and most of those Abuja workers living in Nasarawa state do not pay taxes to Nasarawa state government.
I wish we have free cash in Nigeria – we do not. But where that is possible, I think it is time to add one more new city, stimulated with massive government funding. Uyo would be a natural choice. Yes, if you have Uyo and a deep seaport running, within five years, the traffic in Lagos ports and overall Lagos traffic will drop by at least 20%. All the traffics from Onitsha and Aba will move to Uyo, and some from the North diverted to Uyo, and magically Lagos would become more livable. Of course, interests and shenanigans do not allow sensible things to happen in Nigeria. But anyone that tells you that Lagos would continue to grow without a surgical roadmap by 2030 does not live in Lagos! Of course, it takes efforts to see that since people are indeed celebrating that they made progress, coming 115th out of 140.