POVERTY IN NIGERIA: Things Nigeria Must Do To Address Extreme Poverty (2019) By Chukwudi Iwuchukwu
For Nigeria to lift millions of our people out of poverty and then lift the income of the average Nigerian homes, we need to rejig our economic strategy and see how we can incentivize the private sector to be more export-driven than they are at the moment.
An economy anchored on export is what lifted China and other Asia miracles like Vietnam and South Korea out of poverty as it lifted income of most homes in those Asia countries.
It is not enough to say that we have the market of over 200 million people, the market is very small to compare to the large market out there.
Let me share a personal story:
Visage media works for a company in the UK call Sunmark Limited, those guys are the manufactures of Bullet energy drink, Laser oil and Pure heaven.
My good man Odenigbo Chidi Anyaeche who works in the UK might not have heard about them, it is not a popular company in that part of the world but the truth is that the products are popular all over emerging economies in Africa, Europe and Asia and this is why.
Sunmark strategy as a company is export of their finished products and that is one of the reasons their products are popular and highly in demand in Nigeria.
Bullet energy drink is the number 1 energy drink in Nigeria and should be the company’s flagship product in this part.
The same with Laser oil that is doing very well in the food category and also Pure Heaven.
What this export strategy has done for the Indian multimillionaire Rami Ranger that owns Sunmark is that he has become wealthier and he has created jobs in the UK even as most people that work in the UK has not heard about the company before.
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Sunmark would not have succeeded in this mission if UK is not a well-organized country that encourages companies domiciled in that part of the world to export their finished products.
The same can be done for our indigenous companies in Nigeria.
Imagine if Seahorse lubricants products are all over Africa as the number 1 lubricant product, imagine for a moment this effect of the demand for producing for export will have back home on the value chain of this brand, the management of this company will be empowered to create more jobs for our young people and add value in the system by paying more tax to the government.
This can be done but the government of the day has a leading role to play to make this possible.
First, provide light! Most of our indigenous companies are running their machines on diesel, these guys can’t scale that way because the cost of Manufacturing their products will be higher than the products manufactured in China and India. How then do they compete?
Secondly, the government needs to invest in Infrastructure especially the ports, you can’t be an export giant as a country when Apapa port is in that state of shambles.
Again, this question needs to be asked: Why is Portharcourt port not competitive that most people I know that have their business in the east still prefers to use Apapa port instead of Portharcourt port that is closer to them?
Lastly, we need to devalue our currency to make it more attractive for people to export.
When we rejig our economy to be an export-oriented one, global brands like Apple can come here to set up a factory to manufacture iPhones for export, the effect is that jobs will be created and our young people will have something to do after school.
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Household incomes will be lifted as more people will be lifted out of poverty.
This economy is not growing, Nigerians are having s3x more than ever before and the population is increasing and expanding at an alarming rate but the economy is not growing with our population.
The effect of this is that we are breeding more poverty than prosperity unless something urgent is done.
We need to be worried.
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