A year too short to reactivate the economy – Sanusi

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and reinstated Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi, on Thursday said that given the mismanagement of the last 10 years, one year is too short to revive Nigeria’s ailing economy.

This was, as he said, that the abundance of oil or other natural resources in the country was not enough for the country to achieve economic growth.

Sanusi spoke on Thursday at the Rivers State Economic Investment Summit in Port Harcourt.

He delivered the opening speech of the summit with the theme: “Rivers Emerge: Advancing Paths Toward Economic Growth and Sustainability.”

Sanusi said that to achieve development, a nation must take specific measures that transcend natural resources, including diversification and institutionalization of fundamental economic frameworks.

Sanusi said reforming an economy “involves policies that may be painful or unpopular and are generally not welcomed by politicians who need re-election, but that is the only way to ensure a better future for the very people who might be difficult for they”.

He said: “Right now, it is important for us as Nigerians to be realistic. The mismanagement of the last 10 years will not be solved in six months or a year. And we need to understand some of the difficult decisions that would take time in the economy.

“It will take us a while to see a turnaround, but those decisions are necessary to save the economy.

“We always knew we would have to go through this process if we didn’t change course. And we have seen this film in Zimbabwe, in Venezuela, we have seen it in Argentina and it is a film that we do not want to be part of.

“I hope we make this transition brief and return to economic growth. It is right”.

Sanusi added that the summit was important as it came at a time in Nigeria’s history when it was desperate “to chart a new course in economic thinking, opting for a paradigm shift that seeks to harness the vast potential and propel us towards sustainable growth and prosperity. ”

He commended the Rivers State Government for the decision to focus governance on economic development through investment promotion, describing it as a thoughtful and courageous decision.

He said: “Rivers State has been blessed with abundant petroleum resources; a gift that has contributed significantly to the Nigerian economy as a whole. However, depending on oil or any natural resource is not enough for economic development.

“I have said it again and again that if today we extracted all the oil under Nigerian soil and sold it, and then shared the money among all Nigerians, at best we would be a lower middle income country. So, oil is a resource, but it is not enough to make us a rich country.”

Sanusi said even some countries that were not blessed with natural resources could not compare with Nigeria in terms of standard of living, because they had taken deliberate steps to develop and sustain themselves.

“Japan and Singapore do not have oil resources. Neither does Germany, Switzerland, Australia or Rwanda, to give some examples.

“However, in no way will anyone compare the standard of living, life expectancy or any other development benchmark in these countries with most countries with abundant mineral resources, such as Nigeria,” he said.

He noted that as Nigeria’s second largest economy after Lagos, Rivers State has a unique opportunity to emerge as a beacon of progress amidst hopelessness.

“(Rivers) has the opportunity to operationalize the ideals of the concept of subnationalism in a federal context by building a resilient, dynamic, modern and effective system that fosters economic development and prosperity.

“With rich arable land, abundant water resources and the strategic location of the state, Rivers can be one of the best investors not only in Nigeria but also in West Africa if the right things can be done.

“While organic factors can induce the emergence of a certain level of growth in various sectors of an economy, sustainable development is the result of deep thinking, deliberate and strategic actions, as well as the political will to act and achieve,” he claimed.

While thanking his host, Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State, for the honor of inviting him, he remembered the late Chairman of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, who died in a helicopter crash in the United States.

“Honoring Rivers State is for me to honor one of my best friends, Herbert Wigwe (of blessed memory). And this is another way to pay my respects to you, and today precisely, I wish you were here with me,” he said.

Speaking earlier at the cocktail party held at the Government House Banquet Hall on Wednesday, Fubara vowed to keep up the campaign to mobilize critical stakeholders with attractive investment portfolios in the business community to join forces with his administration.

This, he said, would help chart the path of economic growth in the state.

“We need to move the state forward. We have been one of the most economically viable states before this time, but somehow, some things went wrong and we found ourselves where we are today.

“Today we called everyone. We have called the whole world. You represent the world and we tell you that we want to change the trajectory of our state. “We want to see our state move like any other developing nation,” he said.