Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and his Ogun state counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday, picked holes with Sunday’s rebasing of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr. Yemi Kale, rated as the 26th largest economy in the world with a worth of $510 billion, saying; “The new statistics does not truly reflect the real worth of the country’s economy”.
Fashola and Amosun spoke separately at the opening ceremony of the 7th Lagos Economic Summit, Ehingbeti 2014, with the theme “Powering the Lagos economy: Real opportunities, endless possibilities”, held in Lagos, with former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji and others in attendance.
According to Fashola, “If the Nigeria economy has been stated on 1990 figures, it makes imminent common sense to restate them on much more contemporary figures that captures sectors that were hitherto omitted; like Telecommunications, entertainment, arts, music, Nollywood and so on. The reality is that size only matters if it is efficient size. If it’s big and suboptimal or inefficient, it really doesn’t achieve the purpose. How to put that size to work is really the key and it’s a no brainer that power will be defining for it.
“The estimates that suggests themselves by assessment, is that the power demand here (Lagos) is in the region of 10,000megawatts and more at a snapshot and an economy that is giving 25 percent to the GDP with 1000 and below megawatts just shows what we can unleash if we ramp up power supply. At this moment, the electricity sector has been liberalized; it is now for state governments to engage useful sensible and mutually rewarding partnerships with investors and owners of the electricity assets”.
On his part, Governor Amosun said “On the new GDP, something you will notice from the statistics release is that, it may say that we are the largest and whatever, we are 26th largest economy in the world. And if one look at the component of the GDP, one will realize that truly it isn’t the real GDP that the country has done well in. Look at services alone, I think it is over 50 percent while manufacturing is under 10 percent.
“What does that tell us, it shows that something is missing? That isn’t the best way. I will have been happier to see to the thing swap and to see maybe about 50 or 60 under manufacturing.
“That will mean real growth. And we cannot achieve all of these without power. Indeed the key to solve the challenge that we have today is power. Everyone needs power to do his or her business. And that is why the theme of this summit is better at this time. And until we solve power challenge, we will continue to have this GDP that is more of service based. And that is why the current GDP doesn’t translate into reducing unemployment and putting food on our table”.
Amosun, however, said “60 percent of the lower and middle cadre of workers live in Ogun state. So, we are pushing ahead to ensure that more people leave Lagos to live in Ogun state”.