May 30, 2024

First anniversary: Ghana now richer than Nigeria — Bismarck Rewane 


Prominent economist Bismarck Rewane

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane said Ghana is now richer than Nigeria.

Rewane disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television.

The renowned economist said Nigeria has fallen from the 32nd largest economy in the world to 42nd.

He added that in Africa, the nation has also descended from its 1st ranking to 4th in terms of wealth management and accumulation.

Rewane, who noted that Ghana has also overtaken Nigeria, said, “In the past, we were always richer than Ghana, now we are here. External reserves and GDP figures speak for themselves.”

In March this year, Rewane, the CEO of FDC, was among the appointed members of President Bola Tinubu’s Economic Management Team Emergency Taskforce (EET) with a mandate to formulate and implement a consolidated emergency economic plan.

Speaking on the first anniversary of Tinubu’s term in office, Rewane categorized Nigeria’s economic performance into the good, bad, and ugly based on his available metrics.

He added that the economic metrics and rankings look tough but there is room for improvement in the Nigerian economy.

He said, “Our ranking among African countries has declined. Last year, our GDP growth was 2.98 per cent; South Africa was 1.93 per cent, Kenya four per cent, and Ghana 3.8 per cent. Inflation was 33 per cent for us, five per cent for South Africa, five per cent for Kenya, and 25 per cent for Ghana.

“Our GDP per capita is $1,111, while South Africa’s is $6,700, Kenya’s is $2,000, and Ghana’s is $2,200. External reserves as a percentage of GDP illustrate a tough picture.

“In the past, we were always richer than Ghana, but now we are here. External reserves and GDP figures speak for themselves.”

He added that major policy changes were announced in 2023, including the $1 trillion GDP goal, that the time lag between policy announcements and their effects was a drag on outcomes, and unintended consequences led to social unrest.

“There’s a cost of living crisis in Nigeria, and minimum wage negotiations are a source of widespread conflict. The wrong sequencing of reforms is taking its toll on output. Nigerians and Nigeria need new borrowing to refinance existing obligations, and policy changes, institutional reforms, and new borrowings are expected to lead to positive and faster growth from 2025 to 2026.

“The economic weakness is partly structural and mostly exogenous. Exogenous means from outside, while structural means fundamental. The structural challenges include rent-seeking, market structure issues, energy crunch (4,000 MW), regulatory bottlenecks, declining labour productivity, and demographic pressures including urbanization.

“Exogenous shocks include COVID-19 disruptions, post-COVID global supply chain disruptions, political tensions, high global interest rates, transit developments, the cost of living crisis, wage agitation, and social unrest,” Rewane said.

The economist also reviewed President Bola Tinubu’s promises, policies, and announcements a year after his assumption in office.

“The first promise President Tinubu made was to increase GDP to $1 trillion in eight years. Before then, our GDP was almost $400 billion, so he aimed to double it in eight years.

“He removed petroleum subsidies, unified exchange rates, promised to overhaul the security infrastructure, and also promised to double power generation from 5,000 MW to 10,000 MW in 5 years, which means an increase of 1,250 MW every year.

“Additionally, he promised to bring inflation under control. These were the promises, policies, and announcements.”

The Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) comprises distinguished leaders and key government officials, with President Tinubu serving as Chairman of the PECC.