Today, Nigeria exchanges N450 to $1 as against the 80k to $1 exchanged in 1980. Surprised? Don’t be. Nigeria has gone less productive than the 80s. Here are few key reasons for the economic growth experienced in 1980S;
Nigeria was a net exporter of refined petroleum products. Today, all her refined petroleum products are imported.
Leyland in Ibadan and ANAMCO in Enugu produced the country’s buses and trucks while Steyr in Bauchi produced its agricultural tractors. People rode in locally assembled cars, buses and trucks. Peugeot cars in Kaduna and Volkswagen cars in Lagos.
Nigeria was not just assembling but also producing many of the components. Vono products in Lagos produced the seats, Exide in Ibadan produced the batteries for Nigeria and the entire West Africa while Isoglass and TSG in Ibadan produced the windshields.
Brake pads and Discs were produced by Ferodo in Ibadan while Dunlop in Lagos and Mitchelin in Portharcourt produced the tyres.
In the 1980s, People were listening to radio and watching television sets assembled in Ibadan by Sanyo. Refrigerators, freezers and Airconditioners used were produced by Thermocool.
People wore clothes produced from the UNTL textile mills in Kaduna and Chellarams in Lagos. Shoes worn by Nigerians were produced with locally tanned leather at Kaduna by Bata and Lennards. The water running through pipes was produced by Kwalipipe in Lagos with toilets fitted with WC produced in Kano and Abeokuta.
Unlike today, people were cooking with LPG gas stored inside gas cylinders produced at the NGC factory in Ibadan and the electricity they enjoyed flowed through cables produced by the Nigerian wire and Cable, Ibadan and Kablemetal in Lagos and Portharcourt.
Nigeria’s Airways, which was about the biggest in Africa at that time, was used to fly most places in the world.
Finally, most food eaten then were grown or produced in Nigeria.
It is therefore safe to say, given the aforementioned key reasons, that the terrible exchange rate we are experiencing today is because the country import almost everything.
Going forward, we need to ponder and think of ways to make things better rather than complaining or pointing out excesses.
What is Nigeria producing? What does it intend to produce? These are key questions to be answered going forward.
We all have a critical role to play in reversing the ugly trend of terrible exchange rates and more..