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THE immediate past governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has spoken on how countries with similar challenges as Nigeria revamped their economies.
These countries, he said, tackled their economic challenges, moved on and left Nigeria far behind in the scheme of things.
The countries namely China and Turkey had no option but to embark on aggressive savings which paved the way for growth pattern.
He gave the insight while speaking at the annual conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP in Lagos, Nigeria.
The programme, themed “Sustaining Growth Through Diversification of the Economy,” was held in Ikeja.
He said there is no denying the fact that Nigeria's economy was growing tremendously and eventually became Africa's largest economy before it gradually slipped into recession.
On diversification of the economy by the Buhari administration as a result of the dwindling oil revenues, he gave the administration a pat on the back as the non-oil sector contributes about 80 percent to the GDP.
“The tragedy of our economy is that our export revenue is derived 90 per cent from one sector, the oil sector,” he said.
“If you look at our last figures, 2015 earnings, we earned $45.5 billion from export; $42 billion came from oil, which is less than 20 per cent of our GDP; 80 per cent of our GDP which is non-oil sector contributed only $3 billion––that is the tragedy of our economy.”
He also called attention in the course of diversification to the non-oil sector to manufacturing in order to get more export revenues which were what contributed to Nigeria's export earnings in the 1980s.



Mr. Obi pointed out countries which battled corruption, military rule, maladministration such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey have all come out of the challenges and left Nigeria behind. 
In his words: “In 1980, our GDP was $143 billion, using the 2010 dollar baseline. Indonesia was $161 billion, South Korea was $149 (billion); Turkey was $200 (billion); Thailand was $6 billion; Malaysia was $45 (billion); and China $345 billion.

“To go further in this economy, our reserve in 1980 was $10.8 billion. Indonesia was $ 6.8 billion; Turkey, Korea, and Thailand were all at $3 billion; Malaysia was $5.5 billion and China (was) at $10 billion. So, by 1980, Nigeria had more reserves than all these countries. We were on top.
“Today, our reserve is $30 billion; Indonesia is about $115; South Korea is about $365 billion; Malaysia is about 105; Thailand about 160. And China that we were at par, is not at 3 trillion. We are not even 1 percent of China. That’s the crisis that we face in the country.
“The question is how did we get here?” he asked.
“Research has shown that these countries embarked on aggressive saving. We didn’t save for yesterday and we are not saving for tomorrow.
“What did they do? They diversified their economies––those of them with similar raw materials like us, into knowledge-based exports, products, and everything. That’s what they did. They supported manufacturing companies, they invested money in infrastructure and education.
“I can show you (that) aggressive saving, diversifying the economy through manufacturing and investment in education is what we require today to turn around our economy.
“By aggressive saving, you will be able to have the resources to bring about microeconomic stability in your country, defend your currency, be able to attract foreign direct and portfolio investment and unlock the resources to invest in your deteriorated infrastructure,” he said.

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