Opinion: How Nigeria Can Manufacture Her Way Out Of Poverty

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As part of a post-coronavirus economic stimulus plan, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should cap loans for the following project at 5% at the very maximum.

  1. Investment in agriculture, aquaculture and animal husbandry
  2. Investment in power generation
  3. Manufacturing of consumer goods
  4. Production of industrial goods
  5. Food processing
  6. Steel processing
  7. Railway and road expansion
  8. Housing development
  9. Automobile manufacturing
  10. Producing pharmaceuticals

CBN’s PMI report for Sept-2020 brandspurng A hint at recession
Photo by Cleyder Duque from Pexels

These are all areas in which we are desperately lacking at the moment and if we want to get out of this rut, production in these sectors need to be put on a war footing. When I look at how the US, UK and USSR expanded industrial output during World War Two, I can see the template we need to follow.

With the revival of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change following the election of President Joe Biden, fossil fuel demand and prices are in for a battering. I doubt if they will ever recover to pre-pandemic levels again but even if they do, it will be a short-term blip.

Nigeria basically has to manufacture her way out of poverty. To do this, industrial capital needs to be made widely available at rates close to zero.

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Have you not noticed that Nigerians are brilliant at producing prototypes of products? However, I cannot think of one Nigerian firm that can deliver 1m units of a finished product in a year if awarded a contract to do so.

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If for instance, the Nigeria Police Force wants 1m uniforms by July, is there one clothing manufacturer in Nigeria that can deliver on such an order? If say, the Africa Union wants 1m 10kg packs of processed gari by May, is there one Nigerian firm that can deliver this?

If the World Health Organisation wants say 1m syringes by June, is there one Nigerian firm that can deliver this? If Toyota wants 1m headlamps for one of its factories, is there one Nigerian firm that can deliver this?

I can go on and on. We are simply not productive enough as a people and this consumerist parasitism and import dependency are not sustainable.

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It is only a matter of time before Nigeria collapses on our collective heads unless we start manufacturing. If I had my way, the lending rate for all the above items would be capped at 2%.

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Written by:
Ayo Akinfe, born in Salford, Manchester, is a London-based journalist who has worked as a magazine and newspaper editor for the last 20 years. Ayo attended Federal Government College Kaduna and obtained his first degree in history from the University of Ibadan.
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