A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, on Tuesday urged Nigeria to invest more in technological innovations for the country to compete favourably in a 21st century without oil.
Soludo said this in his paper titled “The Economic Restructuring of Nigeria: Nigeria of the Future,” at The Platform, an annual forum organized by Christian Covenant Centre, Iganmu, Lagos.
The renowned economist said that technological innovation would bring about the needed development that would usher in the Nigeria of the future.
“By 2050, there will probably be 400 million Nigerians; all these people will need water, education, hospitals and jobs.
“In 20 years’ time, the oil will be history, so we need to prepare to welcome the 400 million Nigerians in 20 years’ time by putting in place the kind of institutional arrangement to make the future to be sustainable.
“The world will need new systems to meet these new needs, so, we have to either innovate, compete or die,” Soludo said.
According to him, the economic restructuring of the future is about positioning Nigeria to compete and win in an increasingly complex world thereby guaranteeing the security and prosperity of the 400 million Nigerians in a world without oil.
Soludo, who is a member of the Economic Advisory Council newly established by President Muhammadu Buhari, said an educational system with the 21 century curricular and powered by technology was needed to achieve the objective.
“The challenge is how to deliberately optimize the potential of the huge youth population to be highly productive at home and competitively exportable abroad.
“And we cannot export illiterates in a world driven by digital technology.
“So, the easiest way to waste the future is to churn out millions of semi-illiterates, largely unemployable citizens most of whom seek criminality as the only way to escape the poverty trap,” Soludo said.
The former CBN governor said Nigeria could smartly position itself as a provider of the smart labour for the continually ageing western population.
The renowned professor said the country needed a progressive and productive constitution and devolution of power to remain relevant.
He called for a systemic restructuring of the country by devolving more powers to the federating units to allow growth through competitive federalism.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives, urged Nigerians to imbibe mental discipline to learn from the past.
In his paper on the theme of The Platform: “Redesigning the Nigerian Economy with New Ideas,” Rewane said that Nigeria’s problem was not a lack of plans or want of ideas but the execution of both.
“What the economy needs is the mental discipline to learn from the past,
“In the Nigerian economy today, the things outside our control are more than the things we have control over.
“The more integrated our economy is with the rest of the world, the more vulnerable we are.
“This is because we refuse to learn from the past,” said Rewane, who is also a member of the Economic Advisory Council.
The financial expert urged Nigerians to embrace technology in other to remain competitive.