20th October, 2023
By Busayo Onijala
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano and former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asserted that Nigeria will never get rich from producing oil.
Sanusi spoke at the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos with the theme: “Resetting the Nigerian Economy for a Brighter Future” on Thursday.
The lecture series seeks to diagnose issues surrounding Nigeria’s economic predicament and propose practical steps to address the situation.
While delivering the lecture, Sanusi noted that Nigeria’s oil production compared to the population of the country is not enough to make the country rich.
“Oil is not enough to make us rich but enough to put us in trouble. At best, it represents working capital that can enable the launch of other industries.
“Nigeria produces just 2.3 barrels per person per year compared to Saudi Arabia’s 91.4, Kuwait’s 221.6 and Gabon’s 31.7,” he said.
He advocated that reduced dependence on petrol will be the long-term solution to the subsidy removal crisis currently being faced by people in the country.
“In the short term, the most effective measure to offset the removal of fuel subsidies is cash transfers.
“The design of individual cash transfer programmes varies considerably in reach and coverage.
“The long term solution is to reduce dependence on PMS.”
Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN added that Nigerians would need to appreciate, across board, the economy’s importance.
He added that in resetting the Nigerian economy, it would be important to bring economics into public discourse.
He also emphasised the importance of recognising the primacy of politics in economic matters.
According to Sanusi, an economy is run on the basis of the ideological orientation of those who control the state.
“If the state is a rentier state where the people in control see it an avenue to make money for themselves and their families, they are never going to run an economy in a manner that encourages production and growth.
“If it is run by people who are thinking long-term and of the legacy they will leave behind for their children and the future of the country, they will run different sets of different policies.
“I think every economist knows that multiple exchange rates are a problem, but as long as politicians are able to give themselves a dollar at 400 Naira and sell at 700 Naira, they are not ready to listen to the economists,” he said.
The former CBN governor noted that Nigerians had been talking about fuel subsidies as far back as 2011.
“We said, if we did not do something about those subsidies, we would end up where we are today.”
He said that the civil society should be blamed than politicians for the current economic situation of the country.
Sanusi also said that the governance of the economy was an important aspect to note in resetting the economy.
According to him, the country cannot continue doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.
On Nigeria’s gross domestic product and debt ratio, Sanusi said that Nigeria had a huge revenue problem.
He said that one of the solutions to Nigeria’s fiscal problems would be to raise revenue.
He urged that the image of the country should be improved to make it an attractive destination for investments.
He noted that the country had been through challenges but expressed optimism that it would surmount all challenges.
“We have continually proven to be the giant, and we must lead others there,” Osaghae said.