Nigeria just celebrated Democracy day on Friday June 12, and economic data going back to 1999, compiled and analyzed by MoneyCentral shows that democracy despite some flaws has been largely good for the country.
Some 20 years ago as the military was handing over the baton of governance to the civilians in 1999 the size of the Nigerian economy was a paltry $59 billion.
Fast forward to year end 2019 and the Nigerian economy has expanded more than six folds to N440 billion, according to IMF data.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, a metric that breaks down a country’s economic output per person, measured by dividing by its GDP by total population, was a lowly $500 per head in 1999, but today has quadrupled to over $2,000 per head, according to latest World Bank data.
Looking at connectivity and mobile telecommunications, Nigeria virtually had zero mobile phone subscriber’s in 1999, with NITEL the national monopoly too inept to provide a service that was in huge demand.
Today there are 4 widely available and intensely competitive mobile phone carriers in the name of MTN Nigeria, Airtel Africa, Global Communications or GLO and 9 mobile. The number of active mobile phone lines in the country hit a record high of 190 million, according to National Communications Commission (NCC) data.
The NSE all share index was less than 5,000 points in 1999 and today it has jumped by nearly 500 percent to 25,000 points as at Friday.
Reforms have taken place that has put Nigeria on a much stronger footing.
The passing of the Pension Reforms bill which has now seen Pension assets surge from zero to N9 trillion, banking industry consolidation, FX markets reforms, reforms to the bond market that has helped to create a sovereign yield curve and a major privatization exercise in the early part of the 2,000s have all been positive for the Nigerian economy.
Other reforms have taken place such as the successful backwards integration in some sectors like Cement and the local content act for the oil and gas industry.
The data shows that growth and development has largely come to Nigeria since the advent of Democracy, it’s a wonder why politicians don’t tell more of these stories!