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Successful banker, self-styled campaigner of Africapitalism and Chairman, Heir Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has called on the federal government look at what changed the economy fortunes of nations Brazil, India and Pakistan to tailor a sustainable growth and recovery development plan.
Development legends say during the 1980s, the trio and Nigeria were on the same page of economic development, but speed off Nigeria during the protracted military era.
Speaking in a lecture he delivered at the National Defence College, Abuja earlier in the week, he made it clear that every enterprising economy in the world today is driven by the activities of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), hence the need to work with the private sector to develop indigenous technologies.
While noting that such innovations were also significant to the advancement of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency in the North-East, he established that Nigeria is yet to develop a workable policy that will pull it out from import dependence.
On why he gave example with the trio of Brazil, India and Pakistan, Elumelu explained that the nations have through indigenous technological developments brought their dependence to imports to near zero limits.
According to him, “The Nigerian private sector, the Federal Government and the military need to work together and there is no blame game. We need to create an environment to make the local industrial complex work as it befits the 21st century”.
“We still depend on imports for most of our needs. In comparison with countries like India, Pakistan and Brazil, which share the same colonial history with Nigeria, they are now nuclear powers while we still depend on imports of our military arsenals.”
“One disadvantage of this is that countries, which supply some of our needs, have held us to ransom as experiences showed in the past.
“The point is that Nigeria cannot develop except we start to promote made-in-Nigeria goods and cut our high import rate. Nigeria needs a strong modern technology in its military to be able to play its leadership role in Africa. The private sector is also going to drive a major part of this. Therefore, the military, the Federal Government and the private sector must support research and investments in this regard,” the chairman of UBA Plc. said.
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