Nigeria Post-COVID Economy: Seek ye first human capital development by Godspower Iheanacho

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Editor’s note: Writer Godspower Iheanacho, in this piece, writes on how Nigeria can survive the post-COVID-19 era economically, especially as many countries go into recession due to the economic effects of the global pandemic. Read below:

“The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and end up redistributing poverty” — as stated by Thomas Sowell in his article fallacy of redistribution. The painful truth is we don’t have to veer from Nigeria when looking for a nation that embodies the aforementioned statement –for a nation blessed with natural and human resources in its abundance, one would expect us to be on the path of economic prosperity but what we are currently experiencing is a country entangled in a hopeless situation of being inundated by the chokehold of poverty due to our failure to heed to frenzied warnings about the dangers of putting all our eggs in one basket. That is to say, while other oil-exporting nations have spent the past decades diversifying the productive base of their economy and preparing for this eventuality, we spent ours salivating over the crude-oil proceeds.

Alas!, the day of reckoning is here, the sheer fragility of our economy is becoming apparent, as the crude oil which is literally the oil that keeps the engine of our economy going is trading below the break-even point, the Excess Crude Account(ECA) has fallen by a whopping 98% in five years, coupled with the fact that unemployment rate jumped to 27.1% recently. All these are indicators that the economy of the largest black nation on earth is hurtling towards an abyss.

President Buhari and his team have a duty to figure out how Nigeria can survive the post-COVID era. Photo credit: @NGRPresident Source: Facebook In hindsight, Nigeria’s greatest mistake was not the discovery of oil but rather the failure of policymakers to disenthrall themselves from the “Dutch disease syndrome.” Simply put, the past administrations erroneously treated the favourable but transitory oil boom in the 80s as a permanent phenomenon, thereby neglecting other key sectors of the economy. However, as we try to unravel the harsh realities around us, one of the most important questions begging for an answer is, as oil becomes less profitable, what keeps Nigeria relevant on the global market? The people.

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