BY SUNNY CHUBA NWACHUKWU
Sunny Nwachukwu (Loyal Sigmite), PhD, a pure and applied chemist with an MBA in management, is an Onitsha based industrialist, a fellow of ICCON, and vice president, finance, Onitsha Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached on +234 803 318 2105 (text only) or email@example.com
The national planning for Nigeria’s future growth and sustainable development by key actors in government and their ‘think tanks’ over nature-capital utilisation and its monetary value conversion (at the international marketplace through exports), and the conservation of such earnings for high economic efficiency in the economy, raises critical obvious concerns that should constantly demand sleepless, strategic deliberations on all available feasible options, with proactively programmed work-plans for vision accomplishment. For, indeed, a nation without vision is destined to fail because of poor planning or no plan at all. For burdened citizens who think ahead on how an oil-rich economy like Nigeria should prepare and cope, after decades of reaping the petrodollars, (the likes of Bode Augusto), such line of thought ought to be everybody’s worry and business (for a serious nation that caters for her citizens, in return), with regards to good governance, sustainable economic growth and development through genuine, indigenous investors in the energy sector of the economy.
Mother earth is already threatened for life’s sustainability by the environmental impact of global warming due to carbon emissions (the greenhouse gas, GHG emission) expended from fossil energy sources for daily human activities. The ongoing battle against climate change through conventions with multilateral or intergovernmental agreements, towards mitigation of the looming global catastrophe, which seemed like a feasible roadmap, now appears like a mirage. This is in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion by the Russian military, with the counter reactions of trade restrictions and sanctions from the West, vis-a-viz the European Union, United States of America and others. Russia, responsible for energy supplies to these European nations (Germany, for instance), has responded with a threat to cut off energy supply to such countries. Knowing from records that fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas and coal) are the world’s principal sources for energy, majorly for transportation, powering industry and heating of homes at 34 percent, 24 percent, and 27 percent respectively, as at 2018, these actions and more are our biggest challenge, which make it extremely difficult for the globe to achieve carbon neutrality.
But this notwithstanding, the Nigerian economy ought to initiate, design and adapt a peculiar strategy on how to contain the eventualities, should the global resolutions impede our continued future financial benefits from our fossil energy resources. The vision beyond crude oil wealth and its siamese natural gas reserves, should be the main issue placed on the front burner of the nation’s economic well being with regards to its energy business; indeed, a crucial business for human’s existence. With the imminent exit of fossil energies from the global energy calculations and intelligence, the transition to full blown renewable energy alternatives needs to be vigorously pursued, without looking back, to the pace of even some Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member nations (the rich countries). The reason is that it could be misleading when one tends to emulate the pace at which some economies in the so classified rich countries respond to this order of global carbon reductions in energy transition management.
Among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for instance, the very insensitive nature about the efforts being made to reduce carbon emissions, surprisingly, are counted the major defaulters; either as the world’s major suppliers, or the world’s major consumers (no need mentioning names).
The future lies essentially in maximally utilising the economic gains (so long as the economy still reaps some earnings from the upstream operations on exports of fossil fuel resources, hopefully till 2060), and then plough such back by reinvesting heavily in critical infrastructural development projects for renewable energy business in the economy for a sustainable economic future. This should happen while the nation gradually and strategically disengages from fossil energy business that is nearing its terminal stage.
The situation of the nation’s economy beyond oil wealth, of course, cannot be overlooked. It does not only end in diversifying the productivity profile for export goods, and growth in other essential and very critically important sectors like in the manufacturing and the real sector (for capital-stock value-addition on locally sourced raw materials of all sorts, especially by SMEs, that are the “engine-block” of national economic growth); agriculture (on agribusiness for the nation’s food security, in self-sustenance); transportation sector (road, rail and air operations); education; health; and most importantly, the security sector (in protection of lives and property, with the ease of humans commuting freely to and fro in all locations within the economy; for ease of doing all forms of business, including daily economic and commercial activities, especially by farmers, without any fear of physical molestation, kidnapping or assassination). It also captures the growth of every important intellectual property business, both in the entertainment industry (tourism, music, film acting and productions), and all the other ancillary services rendered for exports in this fourth industrial revolution; in the area of information communication technology (ICT), robotics/artificial intelligence (AI), and more.
Nigerians are, indeed, highly talented and very resilient beings, with high intelligence quotients in human capital developmental skills acquisition and training. Proudly, the Nigerian economy could be made great from within, beyond the oil wealth.
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