Uncle Tayo who has been toiling away in London, alongside millions of other ‘diasporeans’ may have been the only good thing about Nigeria and its economy, recently. Diaspora remittance accounts for a whopping 6.1% of Nigeria’s GDP for 2018, and that is as absurd as it is welcoming. For some other indices like inflation, employment, poverty, lending rates and the rest, the nation is close to comatose and the IMF and World Bank’s prophesies of doom and gloom may be conservative at best.
With the 2016 economic recession of -1.6% growth, Nigeria’s economy has since mustered a slow growth rate, year-in-year-out, up till 2.5% in 2018. What that means is that there has not been any growth whatsoever, because by contrast, the country enjoyed 2.7% growth in 2015. Scenes where one takes over a car, drives around and lands the same car in the same place where the person took over, albeit bashing the car, spending scarce fuel and wasting much time.
Nigeria has become like a fairy-tale, but of agony—unrealistically difficult occurrences are happening, and no one is running. Remember the Nation’s pre-2015 buoyant FDI? Well, while FDI flow to Africa increased by 6%, Nigeria’s FDI flow decreased by 36%, and that is a fairy tale of agony. Ghana at $3.3bn FDI in 2018 has more than Nigeria at $2.2bn. It is more unrealistic when one remembers that Ghana has a population of 28 million and Nigeria has a population of 180 million. Unrealistic, but it is happening, and no one is lifting a limb of help.
How many countries are their diaspora remittance 10x more than their FDI? Nigeria is the first, and one may find it difficult to mention another country because it is not a healthy index. Nigeria is sick. With a diaspora remittance of $25bn but an FDI of $2.2bn, it infers that Nigeria’s problem is not human resources or laziness. It shows that Nigerians thrive in efficient systems. It implies that the country is killing its own, especially post-2015 Nigeria. These figures become a significant indictment on leadership in the country, knowing that the most prosperous countries in the world praise their human resources for their success (China, Japan, US).
Do Nigerian leaders think? Foreign leaders may want to ask Nigerian leaders, “you have such a hardworking population, and you are still the headquarters of poverty, how?” Unfortunately, they would not ask, because it may be against diplomatic rules. However, the unemployment rate (21%) of the nation digs a deeper hole into the poverty narrative of the country. Nigeria has a human resource that can remit as much as 6.1% of the country’s GDP while working from an efficient system. Unfortunately, the country still creates unfriendly economic environments that mar economic indices like FDI, so that Ghana now earns more than Nigeria.
No one can make this up. It is in the books and records, and the IMF, World Bank other groups have prophesied slow growth for Nigeria’s economy, but this is bench-marked on oil prices being relatively stable. What if oil prices fall, as they usually do? Nigeria would be sliding into another recession barely two years after heading out of one because the nation’s economy embodies volatility.