The Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, Peter Obi, has said that borrowing progressive economic ideas from China will be more beneficial to Nigeria than taking public loans to pump into the economy.
Obi, who made this remark at the 60th Founder’s Day Lecture of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said China had gone through different stages of national development to arrive at their present level.
It would therefore pay Nigeria better to copy China’s economic development template rather than running to them for loans.
Obi argued that China that could only boast of a GDP per capita of $960 in year 2000, had grown to a GDP per capita of $10,275 in 2019, with a High Human Development Index of 0.798 in 2019 as against 0.594 in year 2000.
He said the huge economic development seen in China was as a result of huge investment in the MSME sector, which drastically reduced unemployment and increased government revenue.
In his words: “MSMEs in China, which constitute about 95 per cent of Chinese firms, account for 60 per cent of China’s GDP and contributes more than 65 per cent of the import and export business in China.
“They also contributed about 50 per cent of the overall tax revenue of government.
“MSMEs constitute about 95 per cent of all enterprises in China.
“China’s GDP is today about $14 trillion, which means that 60 per cent translates to about $8.4 trillion – about 21 times the GDP of Nigeria.
“MSMEs account for over 60 per cent of industrial output and provide over 60 per cent of the overall employment and 80 per cent of urban employment in China.
“Talking about the growth of the MSMEs, 10 years down the line, 60 per cent of these MSMEs have grown to become large corporate when compared with Nigeria that 96 per cent are still at the Micro stage.
“China has about 840 million people employed (which is 60% of the population), and MSMEs provide 60 per cent of these, which is 500 million people.
“In urban employment, the contribution of MSMEs is even greater; 80 per cent of urban employment is attributed to MSME; of about 500 million people employed in urban areas, MSMEs employ 400 million.
“China had planned to create 50 million jobs from 2015 tp 2020, which is 10 million annually, and is religiously following the plan year-on-year.
“In fact, China has consistently surpassed its annual target.
“China has an unemployment rate of only 3.7 per cent.”
Obi stated that if Nigeria emulated China’s economic development plan, it would pay the country better than taking loans, which risk being mismanaged.
The event was attended by notable Nigerians, including the principal members of the university.
Obi was accompanied by Prof. Stella Okunna, Engr. Patrick Obi, Ndubuisi Menakaya, and Paulinus Aniagbaso, among others.