Missing link in manual for national wealth creation – Punch Newspapers
Published 7 June 2022
In declaring his presidential interest, Pastor of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, anchored his declaration on tripling Nigeria’s gross domestic product to $1.5 trillion by 2030. He remains the only politician to mention the holy grail of a Trillion Dollar Economy as a political target. Other presidential aspirants love to make do with platitudes and other generics employed to tickle the ears of the electorate, including their intention to divert fewer monies into their and cronies’ pockets.
However, Pastor Bakare did not elaborate on the means to triple Nigeria’s GDP in eight years. I am not aware he has shared the ways and means of achieving this objective by way of writing or using his pulpit as a platform to educate Nigerians on steps to break into the trillion-dollar mark. His pronouncement also remains a platitude because we didn’t hear a word from him as his party led our economy further away from the trillion-dollar milestone.
This article is not on Pastor Bakare tripling Nigerian GDP, it is about our failure to recognise the importance of GDP as a prime economic index. The closest we have got to set such a target was Nigeria becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020; a vision actually extrapolated for us by Goldman Sachs when they saw our growth profile early in the 21st century. This was lamely adopted by the late President Musa Yar’Adua. There was never a document that specified for us how large our economy had to be to achieve this vision.
Rather, people posit that of what importance is GDP with hunger in the land. They rather we focus on our Human Development Index, GINI coefficient (measures income distribution across a population) and the like. For the last three decades, we have focused on Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals and HDI and lowering the misery index. As with infrastructure acquisition, we have decided to put the cart before the horse.
Growing GDP at a rate much higher than population growth translates to baking a bigger national cake that can then be shared to attain SDG or HDI goals. Any wonder we have not made any progress on these fronts as countries that prioritise GDP growth. This weakness was perceived in changing the earlier MDGs to a sustainable ones, the new SDGs. However, the solution was poorly addressed in the SDG document. Rather than accelerated economic growth being given a stand-alone priority, it was tucked in as one of the 17 goals. Meanwhile, combating climate change was given a stand-alone priority.
In discussions, society’s closest link to GDP is people positing that ‘our common wealth is …….