The National Bureau of Statistics, an Agency reputable for providing statistical and analytical data report for National Development came up with a damning report that Nigeria is officially in recession. The country’s economy is said to have shrunk by 3.62% in the third quarter following a 6.1% plunge in the previous period, according to tradingeconomics.com.
While this may not be the very first economic recession of this era, this recession couldn’t have come at a worse time considering the prevailing circumstances; COVID-19, lockdowns associated with COVID-19, the EndSars movement to mention a few already threaten the livelihood and safety of the masses.
Economic Recession in simple terms is when an economy experiences Negative Growth in two Quarters. This means the productivity of a nation’s economy experiences stagnation and downturn sustainably for a period of 6 months consecutively.
Nigeria is largely a monoculture and\or one product or commodity economy. Crude oil is largely relied upon by the Government as its major source of foreign exchange earnings. A shortfall of revenue from that sector deals a devastating blows to the economy.
Initially, the United State of America (USA) was the leading consumer of Nigeria’s crude oil (popularly referred to as “sweet oil”), but that no longer the case after the North American superpower discovery of shale oil. Nigeria in an attempt to salvage the situation and restore oil revenue to its former glory then turned to China and India who currently are the biggest consumers of Nigeria’s oil.
It is indeed important as we continue to consider the statistical data obtained from the National Bureau for Statistics in measuring the performance of Nigeria’s economy in the wake of the current economic recession in the country.
While it is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the global recession affecting buyers of Nigeria’s crude oil, the lockdown announced by Nigeria’s Government for more than a month significantly affected the economy resulting in the recession currently being experienced.
In a country largely driven by the informal sector, locking down such an economy for a month was bound to have a devastating effect on an already struggling under-producing sector of the economy.
Now that we are here, it is imperative for the Government to spend its way out of recession in order not hit a depression. One critical sector the Government needs to spend on massively is Information and Communication Technology, spending on Technological Innovations and Training of the teeming unemployed youths can contribute much in revitalizing our Gross Domestic Product. Already, unemployment and underemployment rates currently stand at 50.5% according to NBS.
However, it is safe to say that some breakthroughs in the Entertainment Sector have always been a reference point to the tenacity, resilience, and drive to succeed by Nigerian Youths. The Entertainment industry is one industry that had little or no contributions from any Nigerian Government but succeeded greatly in adding value to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. The entertainment industry currently contributes about 2.3% to Nigeria’s GDP, according to PWC while, Information & Communication Technology contributes 17.83% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product according to NBS.
Today, just as their fellow youths found succour in the Entertainment industry, it is possible to drive the massively unemployed youths to find a purpose by engaging in technologically related activities such as inventing one household needs or the other, sales and repair of the phone and phone accessories, computer repairs and cloning, programming, software writing and installation, website design and hosting and other technological innovations including the writing of articles and disseminating theoretical and practical information on technology. The Technological Sector of the Economy has the potentials to Grow much like the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria and driving the Nigerian economy as can be seen by the examples of India and China giving the West African powerhouse an alternative source of forex to the oil and gas sector.
While some pundits may argue and doubt the possibility of an investment in Technology as a way out of our current recession, considering that countries that are well endowed technologically are also in recession, the following arguments may help douse such arguments:
ONE; Nigeria has not and may not likely experience the upsurge and deaths from Covid-19 infections which the industrialised and technologically advanced countries are experiencing. So, the possibilities of a second national lockdown may not arise, and this will afford the Government a chance to engage the youths by investing in, training, and providing them with resources needed to equip them for a career in science and technology.
TWO; Nigeria is blessed with a youthful population with over 60% of the 200 million populace falling within that age group and are well endowed and hardworking people but sadly lacks opportunities and supports for self realisation. With commitment and support from the Government, they can achieve their aims. Let us not quickly forget that their feat in the Entertainment Industry which has now form part of our Gross Domestic Product.
THREE; The proliferation of social vices amongst the youth among which are Internet frauds and other related vices is an attestation to the fact that Nigeria youths are greatly idle and should serve as a reminder that Nigerian youths are technologically savvy. The reader should be informed that we condemn every and any form of law-breaking whether local, international, or digital. But such technological wizardry and potentials has can be found in our youths can be TURNED AROUND for positive contributions to the society, the economy of the nation, and the world at large.
The Government should engage the youth technologically in this time of national and economic crisis through training and technological financing and acquisition of relevant materials to startup so that in a short while, we will begin to have a homegrown TOYOTA and a replica of SILICON VALLEY which will serve as not just a Nigerian but an African Technological Hub, just as NOLLYWOOD the Nigerian Entertainment Industry fashion after HOLLYWOOD, now serves as a reference point for Africa.
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