Nigeria's challenge of making people profitable again

The presence of oil is likely to have impacted on support for developing Nigeria's industrial private sector.

Picture: Primedia

Dubbed one of the leading African economies, Nigeria’s rich history exists largely because of its people and, by investing in education. But has an increasing reliance on natural resources skewed the economy away from entrepreneurship?

For Standard Bank's Africa Connected campaign, journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha chatted with Foluso Phillips whose Nigerian business and management consultancy firm has supported practically every sector in the Nigerian economy for over twenty years.

We’ve got to find a model that makes it profitable to invest in people.

Foluso Phillips, chairman of Phillips Consulting Limited

Power, infrastructure and a lack of a sustainable institutional model are some of the issues that need attention.

Having been an agricultural-based economy about 50 years ago, answering questions about the country’s operational decline is as simple as recognising that they have ‘lost the art of adding value’ the moment the economy shifted to oil.

The essence of our competence as a nation was geared toward agriculture.

Foluso Phillips, chairman of Phillips Consulting Limited

With the economy well on its way, the presence of oil caused the Nigerian government to limit the support needed to nurture the industrial private sector.

As a result of funding government from oil revenue, we’ve lost interest.

Foluso Phillips, Chairman of Phillips Consulting Limited

Understandably, addressing expansion, the value chain and diversifying away from an oil-dependent economy into agri-business, Phillips acknowledges that the country needs a ‘necessary delay.’

We’ve got to gradually take our time; begin to build up our capabilities; we’ll have to beg-borrow for a while, but the rapid transfer of knowledge is just going to take its time.

Foluso Phillips, chairman of Phillips Consulting Limited

As a people, Nigeria will have to learn to use their hands again and get back into manufacturing and add value to catch up with a rapidly moving world.

The true strength of the nation is with the people and the quality of people that we are putting out there.

Foluso Phillips, Chairman of Phillips Consulting Limited

Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Nikiwe Bikitsha's full chat with Foluso Phillips in 2018.