From 80 Kobo to 1 US Dollar in 1980 to 450 Naira to 1 US Dollar
We shouldn't be surprised. We were far more productive in 1980 than we are today
In 1980 the key reasons for economic growth were :
# We were a net exporter of refined petroleum products. Today we import all our refined petroleum products.
# We rode in locally assembled cars, buses and trucks. Peugeot cars in Kaduna and Volkswagen cars in Lagos.
# Leyland in Ibadan and ANAMCO in Enugu produced our buses and trucks.
# Steyr at Bauchi producing our Agricultural tractors. And it was not just Assembly, we were producing many of the components. Vono products in Lagos producing the seats. Exide in Ibadan producing the batteries, not just for Nigeria but for the entire West Africa. Isoglass and TSG in Ibadan producing the windshields. Ferodo in Ibadan producing the brake pads and discs. Tyres produced by Dunlop in Lagos and Mitchelin in Portharcourt. And I mean tyres produced from rubber plantations located in Rivers State.
# We were listening to Radio and watching television sets assembled in Ibadan by Sanyo.
# We were using refrigerators, freezers and Air conditioners produced by Thermocool.
# We were putting on clothes produced from the UNTL textile mills in Kaduna and Chellarams in Lagos. Not from imported cotton but from cotton grown in Nigeria.
# Our water was running through pipes produced by Kwalipipe in Kano.
# Our toilets were fitted with WC produced at Kano and Abeokuta.
# We were cooking with LPG gas stored inside gas cylinders produced at the NGC factory in Ibadan.
# Our electricity was flowing through cables produced by the Nigerian wire and Cable, Ibadan and Kablemetal in Lagos and Portharcourt.
# We had Bata and Lennards producing the shoes we were putting on . Not from imported leather but from locally tanned leather at Kano & Kaduna.
# We were mainly flying our airways, the Nigeria Airways, to most places in the world. The Airways was about the biggest in Africa at that time.
# Most of the food we eat were being grown or produced in Nigeria.
We were producing all of the above and more in 1980 . But Today, we import almost everything!
There lies the source of the terrible exchange rate and poverty rate we are experiencing today , and everybody reading this has a critical role to play in reversing this very UGLY trend.
It is not enough for us to complain about the exchange rate or point out what others are not doing or are failing to do, the key questions are what are we producing ? , what are we planning to produce ? , what are we producing but need support to be successful?
We can channel our motivations, finance and resources to seeing it to limelight. We can even partner or invest to its growth. This will be to the benefit of generations to come!
It is high time we acted and stop complaining before it is TOO LATE. Talking for ages won’t solve this.