2017: Time To Grow The Naira – The Tide

It is unarguably factual that the Nigerian economy is in shambles. There has been a gloomy performance of the oil sector together with the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta which deepens Nigeria’s economic recession.
There has been a negative growth in the third quarter of 2016. As this is evident in the increase in the price of staple food, the quality of  household commodities is on a decline, yet, prices rise, and the retrenchment of workers leaves anguish in its wake.
Obviously, from our failed institutions to our failed education, to our failed infrastructure, to our failed government down to the current recession bedevilling the entire citizenry, we have never fared better. These plagues have left a sore of hopelessness on the Nigerian dream.
Yes, they have, but to continue to eulogise and magnify the tenacity of these plagues, like the passengers in the vehicle, to make us see how gigantic these plagues are rather than how they could be curbed, is to rob us of our identity, and to send a message of hopelessness, even to the unborn generation.
Africa will have a larger workforce than China by 2030 and by 2050 it will have the largest workforce in the world. More than a billion people will need jobs in Africa, especially in Nigeria, the resilient heart of Africa that needs to grow her prospective economy. Else, we will be sitting on a ticking “time bomb.” So, what do we do?
Do we continue to wait for the government that has always failed us? No! It is too important an issue for us to leave it to the government. It is time to flourish despite the government rather than because of it. We must grow the naira. We must throw words to action and see the naira grow.
2017 is not a year of lamentation but a year of actualisation. We must march into the streets with microphones, speakers, and drums sensitizing the masses on the essence of buying made in Nigeria products.
During elections, we aggressively campaign for support. With such enthusiasm, should we hit the streets campaigning for buy made in naija until every woman on the streets, frying akara beside a kiosk, hears this message.
This is because she might not understand the macroeconomic policies that have never worked neither would she understand the whole economic jargons always blaring from her radio but she would certainly understand that if she buys made in Nigeria products, she is growing her naira.
Every radio station, every billboard, every TV station must constantly emphasise the merits of growing the naira. The social network is not left out as this message should go viral on Facebook. And the hash tag, ‘’BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira,’’ by Senator Ben Murray Bruce, will be retweeted over a million times a day.
This should be so until buy made in naija sinks into the heart of every Nigerian. Such that, when one does not buy a product made in Nigeria, it would be squarely outlandish. The aftermath of the entire campaign is that the masses will regain trust in the Nigerian dream, hence, attracting both local and foreign investments, and the naira will grow.
Most importantly, the government must rise to aid this quest. They should invest in our locally made products like rice, shoes, clothes etc. For instance, the Ariaria market in Aba holds great prospects as it showcases a massive gathering of creative minds that have thrived over the years, using inferior raw materials.
One might begin to imagine the outcome if such creative minds are properly harnessed using superior raw materials. It will be magnificent. And of course, the intended consequence is that Nigerians will start consuming what they produce.
It will boost the manufacturing sector and the naira will grow and the consequence is that it will ignite a spirit of professionalism in the services rendered by most Nigerians since their products can now compete globally.
This must be done, if we must grow the naira,  otherwise, we will be sitting on a ticking time-bomb.
Ikechukwu, a Mechanical Engineering student, writes from Uniport.