By Emeka Anaeto, Business Editor
Oil sector productivity, external sector stability, food security, and employment generation (in that order), are the four main strands of Nigeria’s economic scorecard. Vanguard’s findings from official and independent data as well as expert opinion seem to conclude that on all counts the state of play yields results symptomatic of an economy on life support.
Oil Sector – Nigeria’s economy has been oil sector dependent for decades now, meaning that the country’s economic fortune reflects the developments in that sector. Lately, the many years of exploiting the natural resources without corresponding re-investments has brought the industry to a tottering state as output has lately become a drift down the ditch.
External Sector: Related to the oil sector dependency is also the import dependency where the crude oil earnings are piped into imports of all categories of consumer and industrial goods. Consequently, the fortune of the economy takes the direction of the foreign exchange earnings and the exchange rate. Recently, the local currency, the Naira, took a turn for the worst in devaluation and depreciation, driving up inflation to decades high.
Job Creation: The immediate consequence of the above two strands of the economy was job losses and the inability to create new ones. The economy is now reeling under the weight of sharply rising unemployment and underemployment.
Food Security: Availability of food which had been taken for granted in the first two decades of Nigeria’s independence has suddenly become elusive. Prices are soaring beyond the reach of average citizens. The development is not totally unconnected to the decades of neglect of the agriculture sector as reliance on the petro-dollar and import dependency submerged all interests in the agric sector.
In this special report, many issues around these four strands of Nigeria’s state of economic health show an economy on a ventilator as major indicators turn red.