The outgoing Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf has said that the service sector is the only sector where Nigeria seemed to be showing greater strength even as he stated that a look at the structure of the Nigerian economy will show that it is about 52% services.
Yusuf who stated this at an event in Lagos recently revealed that Nigeria’s agriculture sector was about 24% and manufacturing about 9% arguing that one could see where the strength was as the structure of the economy would also tell you the strength of that economy.
“We seem to have a bigger strength in the area of services. Right now, across the West African sub-region, you can see some of our footprints in the banking sector for instance. Go to Ghana, Senegal to see how our banks are performing, they have set standards for them in banking in West Africa sub-region. So, you can imagine if they have the opportunity to play in the wider continent, they can easily dominate. Give it to them, we may have issues with bank charges, interest rate and the rest of them but when it comes to the issue of size, intimidating architecture of their offices, all these things, you can’t compare”, he stated.
He further said that Nigeria had similar strength in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), in entertainment; music, films, pointing out that Nigerian music were all over Africa already even without the AfCFTA as people had moved them around even ahead of AfCFTA, although some of them illegally.
According to him, “A lot of them are pirated but we found that these things are selling across Africa showing the kind of quality and stuff that they are made of. We have our sports men and women all over the world and we also have our churches. Although we don’t even talk about the religion because we are talking economies but there is economic angle to these churches that we have all over. Go to West African countries, Nigerian churches are dominating in terms of size and I am sure some foreign exchanges are also coming in from that spiritual services.
“God bless the soul of T.B Joshua, you know how many people come in from all over the world to Ikotun, as obscure as that place is. It is services; it is tourism – spiritual tourism. What of Redeem Church, we have Christ Embassy, all over the world but sometimes, we don’t even celebrate these things, we don’t even look at the economic side and it is quite significant.
“It is not for nothing that our diaspora remittance in Nigeria is over 20 billion Us Dollars, at a time it was 25 billion US Dollars. It shows you the kind of services that our people are rendering all over the world and these people are just doing it on their own. There is no structural support, if there was a strong structural support; of course, we will get a lot more than this.
“So, there is a lot that is happening in the service area and there is a lot that can still happen and I also want to appeal to the Secretary of AfCFTA that it is also import that we educate those who are in service, let them know a lot more about how they can key into the opportunities in the AfCFTA. In services, you don’t need a 100KVA or 200KVA generator, you don’t need either to be an engineer or architect or software professional. You don’t need to clear any serious cargo at the port; you don’t need to move any serious thing on the road. So, all these hassles that those who are into production are facing, in services, they are not facing it that much. So, they have a fairly better advantage. So, if you can engage our professionals a lot more, it will help because many of them don’t have this information.
“The other time, I was addressing some engineers, they have no clue at all as to how they can even key into this AfCFTA and these are fantastic engineers. They should be able to pick their briefcase and go to Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and explore opportunities but for them to explore opportunities, they need information. With their professional education, will they be accepted in these countries? What do we need to do? What about issues of standards, regulations? How they can key into all of these issues is very important.”
Photo: Outgoing Director General of LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf.
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