BEING TEXT OF A PAPER DELIVERED BY AHMED ‘TUNDE POPOOLA, MANAGING DIRECTOR/CEO OF CRC CREDIT BUREAU AT THE 10th NASFAT YOUTH CONFERENCE, ON THURSDAY APRIL 10, 2014 AT THE NATIONAL MOSQUE AUDITORIUM, ABUJA, FCT.
As salam alaikun waharamotullah, wabarakatuh.
Our discussion today on the Nigerian economy is right on target as this has been the focus of national discourse in the last few days dwarfing even the on-going national conference. Hence this would not have come at a better time. On Sunday April 6, 2014, the Federal Government of Nigeria released the new rebased GDP which now put the Nigeria’s GDP at US$510 billion or about N80 trillion . This singular act has situated the Nigerian economy as the biggest in Africa and the 26th in the world. The rebasing has finally laid to rest, the controversy about the actual size and ranking of our economy. From the rebased GDP, it makes sense to set out the fundamental implications of the new reality. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa with a GDP of US$510 billion. Our per capital income has moved up to $2,688, which still places us on 121st position. The per capital income position is an indication of an economy with low productivity. The components of our national output and production, which had always put agriculture at over 30 per cent, showed that agric is now 24 per cent, oil and gas at 14 per cent, telecommunications at 8 per cent, services at 50 per cent and manufacturing at 7 per cent.
This new statistics depicted us as an economy moving away from a factor-driven to knowledge or service driven economy. The rebasing of our GDP has also done one thing: it has provided us with the impetus and the stimulant to see ourselves as a big economy. Hopefully, it also should be able to further improve the attraction of foreign directive investment provided we are able to put together the other important factors especially appropriate policy and conducive investment climate. This is an affirmation that Nigeria is the place to be. And the favourable, positive factors are there to achieve far much more than what we have recorded-huge population, youthful demographics, and large market. With an estimated population of about 174.5 million and growing at an average of 2.379 per cent per annum, Nigeria population, which makes us the most populous country in Africa and 47 per cent of West Africa population, would exceed 300 million by 2050 and place us as the fourth most populous nation on earth. Nigeria demographic characteristics are as interesting as it is scary due to its dominantly youthful population.
About 43.8 per cent or 76 million people of the 174.5 million Nigerians are below 15 years while about 19.3 per cent are between ages 15-24. The implication is that over 63 per cent or 110 million Nigerians are under 25 years. To confirm the youthfulness nature of the population, Nigeria’s median age is 17.9 years. This feature of our population would likely continue for a long time.
Nigeria is a country blessed not only with huge human resources but also with natural resources. Nigeria is the largest producer of crude oil in Africa and also has the seventh largest crude oil export in the world with a daily production capacity of over 2.5 million barrels per day. We are the 28th largest gas producer in the world and may be the second fastest growing gas producer in the world. But as an oil dependent economy, substantial revenues of government are derived from oil and gas which also account for over 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Apart from oil and gas, Nigeria has thirty-four other unexploited mineral resources.