(By Nduwugwe Chimaobi Churchill)
“There was no industrial revolution in the U.S., until there was a demand for the products produced by the industries. And this fuelled research, into the development of better, cheaper and more efficient ways to increase productivity, while not compromising quality. Demand plays a very important role in development. And if our leaders are interested in the development of local industry, they have to create the demand for local products. By stopping, or reducing the importation of foreign products that compete with local products.“
Continued from yesterday (Wednesday,18-6-2014)
SEEING that there are so many gains to be made if a society carries out specialisation, why is it strangely lacking in Nigeria? The main reason is that we are irresponsible. The government does not take responsibility; the citizens do not take responsibility. We still have not outlined the reason for our nationhood. We do not have clear-cut plans for the future. We function based on the emergency of the moment. We as a people have evolved into individuals, who have concerned ourselves with being mere onlookers in the things that affect us. There is no individual thought, shown in anything we do. We are totally concerned with borrowing ideas, which is a good thing (every nation borrows ideas. We do not have to go through the stress of reinventing the wheel), if only we would tailor its implementation, to suite our peculiarities. Borrowing ideas alone, will not solve our problems, we have to go through the mental rigour of thinking up ideas and implementing them.
We have paid undue attention to those who spend the wealth, rather than concentrating on those who create the wealth. No one looks to the youth – creators of the wealth. No one is looking at studying the educational system, in order to tailor it to suite our socio-political environment. Germany did that years ago, and they are reaping the dividends. China places priority on the development of its human capital and offers its workers more money to produce goods for export. Should we wonder at their level of development? If we are to develop and grow, if we are to ensure an increase in the prosperity of the people, we have to start thinking. Our leaders have to start thinking. If they do not have the capacity for that, they should surround themselves with men who think. They should realise that the methods we have been using, has not, and is not going to produce any new result. We have to concentrate our efforts on tailoring borrowed ideas to suit us.
There was no industrial revolution in the U.S., until there was a demand for the products produced by the industries. And this fuelled research, into the development of better, cheaper and more efficient ways to increase productivity, while not compromising quality. Demand plays a very important role in development. And if our leaders are interested in the development of local industry, they have to create the demand for local products. By stopping, or reducing the importation of foreign products that compete with local products. Nigerians have to be encouraged to patronise local products, because the mentality of the youths and a lot of the adult population is that foreign products are better than ours – it is possible they are – but to develop our economy, we have to experience a bit of inconvenience. For example, the government banned the importation of cement when foreign cement was cheaper than locally produced cement. And now the cement industry is flourishing. Many other countries have used the tactics. By banning foreign imports, they improved local production. Rice is also widely produced in Nigeria, but we still import rice. And a lot of women still see it as a status symbol that their families eat only imported rice.
Economics talks about comparative advantage, which is the ability of an individual or group to carry out a particular economic activity more efficiently, in relation to another activity, individual or group. Basically, the principle of comparative advantage is this; concentrate on your strength. We have to put all our resources into our area of strength, by so doing; we create a demand for our products which shall in turn bring about an increase in productivity. The question now is this, what are our areas of strength? No one knows because no research has been carried out. One of the strengths we do have though is our population. Population rightly channelled will cause growth and development. China and India are witnesses to that. Western capitalism was built on exploited labour. The importance of labour cannot be over-emphasised. They are the driving force of growth and development. Nigeria has failed to utilise labour effectively. Our government mostly utilises labour in institutions which do not produce anything. There has not been a concerted effort to channel labour to more productive uses. Also there should be a shift in focus from the bureaucrats to people who produce the wealth.
Everyone has to be made to understand that there is a price to be paid for development. It does not come free. We all have to wilfully subject ourselves to a little inconvenience if we are to grow and develop. The solution to Nigeria’s problem at this point is ideas. Home-grown ideas, that will take into consideration our unique situation and problems. That is the only way to development and growth. No country was ever developed by another. That is what Nigeria, and Africa has to realise. We have become so reliant on Western powers, that we have neglected our role in our own development. Development shall, and will only come from our own concerted efforts and ideas. “We cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.” Change is what we need. A unique solution to our problem is important at this point. If we are to ensure a better future for our posterity, then we have to specialise.
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