A run down memory lane shows that Nigeria was far better in the past than in the present time, in fact it is very difficult at the moment to point at any better improvement. From water supply, to electricity supply, to fuel refining, to good road, to industries, to exchange rate, to education, just name it.
Let us go down to history a bit so that one can understand the issue better.
In 1980 Nigeria Exchanged 80kobo to 1$
Today Nigeria Exchanges almost ₦480 to 1$
Some major reasons have been captured by a lot of people and it is a fact that Nigeria was far more productive in 1980 than we are today
Let us use 1980 as a point of reference. The key reasons for economic growth were as follows:
1) We were a net exporter of refined petroleum products. Today we import virtually all our refined petroleum products.
2) We majorly rode in locally assembled cars, buses and trucks. Peugeot cars were assembled in Kaduna and Volkswagen cars in Lagos.
3) Leyland in Ibadan and ANAMCO in Enugu produced our buses and trucks.
4) Steyr at Bauchi was producing our Agricultural tractors.
5) And it was not just Assembly; we were producing many of the components.
6) Vono Products Company in Lagos was producing the seats.
7) Exide in Ibadan was producing the batteries, not just for Nigeria but for the entire West African region.
8) Isoglass and TSG in Ibadan were producing the windshields.
9) Ferodo in Ibadan was producing the brake pads and discs.
10) Tyres were produced by Dunlop in Lagos and Mitchelin in Portharcourt.
And I mean tyres produced from rubber plantations located in the country like Ogun and Rivers State.
12) We were listening to Radio and watching television sets assembled in Ibadan by Sanyo.
13) We were using refrigerators, freezers and Airconditioners produced by Thermocool and Debo.
14) We were majorly wearing clothes produced from the UNTL textile mills in Kaduna and Chellarams in Lagos.
Not from imported cotton but from cotton grown in Nigeria.
15) Our water was running through pipes produced by Kwalipipe in Kano and Duraplast in Lagos.
16) Our toilets were fitted with WC produced at Kano and Abeokuta.
We were cooking with LPG gas stored inside gas cylinders produced at the NGC factory in Ibadan.
17) Our electricity was flowing through cables produced by the Nigerian wire and Cable, Ibadan and Kablemetal in Lagos and Portharcourt.
18) We had Bata and Lennards producing original shoes we were putting on.
Not from imported leather but from locally tanned leather at Kaduna.
19) We were mainly flying our airways, the Nigeria Airways, to most places in the world.
The Airways then was about the biggest in Africa at that time.
20) Most of the food we ate were being grown or produced in Nigeria.
We were producing all of the above and more in 1980
In fact, today, we import almost everything.
There lies the source of the terrible exchange rate we are experiencing today and everybody reading this has a critical role to play in reversing this very unfortunate trend.
It is not enough for us to complain about the exchange rate or point out what others are not doing or are failing to do, the key question is what are we producing or what are we planning to produce?
Going forward, it’s time to ponder and think of the way forward progressively before it becomes very late.
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