By Babajide Komolafe
Nigeria lacks strategic trading partner with the rest of the world in terms of international trade, says Professor Wale Omole.
â€œIndeed, international trade brought prosperity and more security to us, as a people. The down side of the enterprise, is that, it is a one way track; unidirectional, always coming to us. We receive so much and send forth near nothing. We do not produce, even for ourselves.
The implication of this situation is that, we do not have what one can classify as a strategic relationship with the rest of the world, except the crude oil.
We just buy and buy and buy from the West, from the East, buy from the North and buy from the South; selling nothing in returnâ€, the formerÂ Vice-Chancellor,Â Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), said at the 10th anniversary dinner of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Nigeria.
In a keynote address titled, â€œPeace and Prosperity through World Tradeâ€, he said that Nigeria has enjoyed more than a fair share of international commerce which due to the fact that the country imports almost everything and export almost nothing except for crude oil, has resulted into net outflow of capital from the country.
He said, â€œThe resultant net outflow of finance capital, has further weakened our capacity to develop the appropriate knowledge and skill to produce wealth, inspite of the kindness of the Almighty God, who endowed us with a territory of inestimable opportunity. WeÂ remain poor today. We are not future casting for tomorrow.
The recent resultÂ of 90 per centÂ Â failureÂ Â of ourÂ childrenÂ Â atÂ theÂ Â secondaryÂ Â school certificate level, coupled with the fraud, certificate forgery and other examination malpractices even by teachers; as recently revealed by the Universal Basic Education Commission, points to a gloomy future, which we must reverse.
It is often said that poor countries remain poor, because they are deficient in what economists call, capital stock; that is, we lack the tangible infrastructures and knowledge that enable modernÂ societies to create wealth. Some thirty years ago, Asia and Africa were grouped as the underdeveloped world. Today, China , India , South Korea , Malaysia have led Asia out of that classification; leaving Africa alone.
Our country, Nigeria , once expected to be the giant of Africa is probably searching for the path to greatness. We still lack the capital stock. Unlike mushrooms, the stock does not grow wild. Its appearance at a particular time and space, is the result of specific human decisions, about investments taken in the past.
The moment an underdeveloped society begins to produce more than it consumes, it ceases to be what the economists call a static society. It begins the process of growth.â€
To reverse this trend, He said the country needs to, â€œset ambitious and profound goals, in comprehensive
infrastructure and pragmatic education. We believe that if we deal with these two items, all other needs will be added unto us. We will then start the journey to compete for the future. We cannot afford to wait till tomorrow, because tomorrow is now.â€Oil rises on weak dollar, eyes on Dubai