By Femi Adekoya
Notwithstanding the prevailing economic challenges which the country is undergoing, latest report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the nation’s future has projected that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may hit $1.45 trillion by 2030 if corruption is reduced and effective policies are implemented.
At biennial growth rates of five and seven per cent till 2030, the report estimates that Nigeria’s GDP could be $530 billion higher if corruption is reduced to levels comparable to Malaysia, while arguing that national policies should be guided not only by improvements in GDP but also a broader measure of development through the Human Development Index (HDI).
The report added that translating economic growth into real improvements in the lives of the average citizen poses a real challenge for policy makers, noting that three critical levers need to be improved to enable Nigeria reach its socio-economic targets which are measured by a high human development status.
The report identified the levers to include, improving the ease of doing business, enhanced labour productivity and reduction of the overall level of corruption perception.
Arguing its case, the report notes: “Despite strong economic growth at a CAGR of 5.3 per centpost-rebasing, Nigeria has been plagued with the jobless growth phenomenon as employment growth has only averaged 1.3 per cent. However, growth has not been broad based with persistent incidences of high poverty, unemployment and underemployment. Official unemployment rose from 6.0 per cent in 2011 to 8.2 per cent in 2015, with a growing number of youths massively underemployed at 18.3 per cent of the labour force.
Though growth in the Nigerian economy has been driven by more labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture and services, income opportunities have been limited due to low productivity levels and thus has not resulted in improved living standards for Nigeria’s growing population, hence, the need for developmental measures beyond GDP.
Advisory Partner and Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin in his reaction said: “This research draws on a more direct and measurable approach to tracking improvement in human development. Using qualitative analysis, academic reviews and country case studies, we identified three critical levers that need to be improved for the average Nigerian to feel the impact of any growth in the economy.”
Progress across the three levers the report highlights, could result in a significant improvement in Nigeria’s HDI score thereby attaining a high human development status by 2030.
Specifically, PwC posits that Nigeria should target to improve Ease of Doing Business ranking through a higher Distance to Frontier score of 61 by 2030 (45 as at 2015).
Similarly, Labour productively currently at $3.61/hour should be improved to $12.05/hour by 2030 while Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score should be improved from 26 in 2015 to 34 by 2030.
“Translating economic growth into real improvements in the lives of the average citizen poses a real challenge for policy makers. Tracking progress across these three levers has the potential to boost the attention on HDI as priority in the public agenda. An analysis of these levers can identify areas requiring policy attention and specific strategies targeted at improving overall wellbeing can be formulated”, Nevin added.