How Nigeria Can Double Her GDP
By Sunday Adelaja.
Dear Readers, can you imagine waking up this morning and credited to your account is $86,400 USD. However you only have 24 hours to spend it.
Just like the biblical manna from heaven, this blessing works by the same principle. By the time you go back to bed, 12 mid night, whatever money you have not spent would be wiped out off your account. By 6 am the next morning you will be credited with another $86,400 USD and at 12 midnight your account will again be emptied.
That is exactly the amount of wealth God gives to each and every one of us on a daily basis. God has made the provision for every man on earth to be equally endowed with this currency. So in actual fact every human being is equally wealthy according to God's divine Providence.
The wealth I am referring to is the wealth of TIME. It is the only wealth every human being comes to the earth with. We are all endowed with it equally. Everybody that is born on the surface of this earth, has this wealth. “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose” – Thomas Edison
Ladies and gentlemen, this wealth is actually of more value than natural resources (petroleum, gold, diamond, gas etc.). It is the only wealth that is more valuable than human resources. The resource of time is the ultimate resource. Time is the ultimate wealth.
You may ask “How could time be more valuable than human resource? Oh yea! The reason is because a human resource is limited to the duration of his/ her lifespan, while time is unlimited.
“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano
Human resources could be purchased and sold but not time. Once lost it can never be regained. The value of time is only equal to the value of life. As a matter of fact life itself is measured by time. Time therefore is the measurement of life. Do you love life? Then don't waste time!
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff that life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Time is the only commodity in life that cannot be bought, sold, borrowed, given out as a gift and it cannot be inherited. “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” -Peter F. Drucker
Anybody that does not value time does not value life. Whenever we lose time we are actually losing our life.
Now, let me unveil the riddle to you. The $86,400 USD I mentioned above is actually the amount of seconds we all have in a day. That amount of seconds God credits to each and every one of us daily. But when you go to bed it is wiped out and you get another one credited to you when you wake up.
The only difference is in the analogy I gave above, I refer to the figure 86,400 as if it were in US dollars, but in the real sense it is much more serious than that. It is not USD that is been jeopardized on daily basis, it is actually 86,400 seconds of your life. You are given that amount of life every day in time not in dollars. That amount of time is to be converted into some products, benefits, goods, services, welfare, ministry, but most of us actually truncate this amount of wealth on daily basis.
“I would I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.” – Bernard Berenson
The reason I have decided to address this issue as a factor of economic regeneration for Africa and Nigeria in particular, is because there is no other part of the world where time is more viciously squandered as on the continent of Africa.
I would not waste your time here trying to prove to you that we don't know the value of time in Africa, especially Nigeria where I come from. The term “African time” is all too well a sad testimony for which Africa has become notoriously famous.
My assignment in this write up is to open the eyes of my fellow Africans and Nigerians in Particular to the fact that our GDP could be doubled in a very short time, if only we recognize this singular factor of the value of time.
If we could all change our attitude towards time and begin to value time as people do in Europe, Japan, America, we would experience a tremendous increase in our industrial output as a nation and continent.
I plan to prove to you that the wealth of time we waste in Africa, is worth much more than all the natural resources we have on the continent. I also hope to convince you with facts and figures that a more positive attitude toward time management would accelerate our economic development as we have never seen before.
Let me quickly paint a picture of the value of time to you my friends:
- If you want to know the value of a year, ask the student who was in the final year of his university education, when the lecturers went on strike and the school ended up closing for a year.
- If you want to know the value of a month, ask a pregnant woman, if a month matters in her pregnancy.
- If you want to know the value of a week ask the editor of a weekly magazine if he fails to meet up with the target of his weekly publication.
- If you want to know the value of a day, ask someone who could not find food to eat or water to drink for a whole day when he is hungry.
- If you want to know the value of an hour ask new love birds (lovers) that are waiting for each other at different bus stations.
- If you want to know the value of a minute ask the person who came to the train station or airport a minute late.
- If you want to know the value of a second, ask the person who just crossed the road at the wrong time and barely escaped being hit by a speeding car.
- If you want to know the value of half a second, ask the person who came second in a sprint event at the Olympics.
“So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
The critical question we must consider is “How does the recognition of the value of time, the change in our attitude to time, time management and time consciousness translate into economic growth or increase in GDP for that matter?
Having grown up in Africa myself, I know for a fact that arriving late for work, appointments, schools, classes, lectures, meetings, and churches is the order of the day. I don't know of your experience, but in my experience, it is normal for people to come to meetings 3 hours late, even if we take only one hour as the average that would still give us a staggering statistics in negative economic effect.
If we open the eyes of our people to understand the value of time, it is unbelievable what effect that is going to have on the economy.
“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”- Thomas A. Edison
Please carefully follow my reasoning below:
- If every major meeting starts an hour late in Nigeria, when an hour is valued at 10 USD.
- If 40 million Nigerians are late just for 1 hour a day, to work or appointments,
- That will equal 400 million USD a day lost to lack of the value of time.
- I assume 40 million will be the number of able bodied Nigerians of a working age in the minimum.
- If we assume people go late to meetings 3 hours a day instead of one hour in a day,
- At the same value of 10 USD, then the 400 million USD should be multiplied 3 times, making it 1.2 billion USD in a day, lost to lack of one single value – time.
- Please notice that an average Nigerian worker might actually be able to produce a product worth more than 10 USD an hour.
- The amount could actually be equal to how much we make from oil at the end of the day if we take this seriously enough.
- If we lose 1.2 billion USD a day, in the case each of our workers loses 3 hours daily to vanity like lateness, jokes, gossip, empty talk, sleep on duty, social media etc.
- If we have 20 working days in a month, and we lose 1.2 billion a day
- That would translate to 1.2 billion x 20 days = 24 billion USD lost monthly to lack of value for time. Please think about it now.
- If working months in Nigeria are only10 months due of the holidays,
- That comes to 24 billion x 10 = 240 billion USD a year.
- For your information, our GDP is only 2 times that amount at 510 billion USD.
- MEANING WE COULD ACTUALLY DOUBLE OUR GDP IN 2 YEARS IF WE ONLY CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE TO TIME.
Some might argue that a Nigerian worker does not make 10 dollars an hour. Maybe, but I would like to encourage you to do your own math and put any figure you want, it would still amount to a huge chunk of our GDP lost to vanity, frivolity, purposelessness, futility and ineffectiveness.
“Work hard, and you will have a lot of food; waste time, and you will have a lot of trouble.” Proverbs 28:19
When I talk about 10 USD an hour, I am not talking about the take away salary of the worker, I am talking about the total amount of the gross product a worker in Nigeria is capable of producing. Even though he might end up taking away just 1 USD of that as his salary, the amount of product produced is still relevant to the economy, because that is what results in the sub total amount of any nations GDP.
You could say, NO! People are never 3 hours late in a day. Well, my calculation is, considering the fact that somebody might be 1 hour late to work, another 1 hour late to church and yet another 1 hour late to an appointment same day. 3 meetings produce 1 hour lateness each, meaning 3 hours lateness in a day.
If you think it is not as bad in your own community, ok, that is good! But the point still remains, I encourage you to go ahead and calculate whatever number of hours you think people in your area waste due to just the factor of lateness. You must however pay attention to the fact that we don't only lose time to lateness. We also lose time to jokes, gossip, empty talks, sleep on duty, social media etc.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”
– Charles Darwin
Most Nigerians will agree with me that this is a conservative estimation. I have personally witnessed when Nigerian government officials, spend nothing less than an hour in observing protocols, introducing all kinds of dignitaries instead of using the time for active productivity.
We all must repent, we all must change our attitude to time. From the top government functionaries to the man on the street. From the University Professors to primary school teachers. From PHD students to primary school pupils. We need a total change in our attitude to time. This alone will propel our nation and continent to the league of advanced countries of the world.
My fellow Nigerians, can you imagine that we were able to build the 26th largest economy in the world without the right attitude to time? What a colossal amount of resources we are not yet tapping into in our quest for development. Just this quality of right attitude to time could perform wonders for our economy. If we bring that to play together with the fight against corruption, which I spoke about in my previous article, we could build one of the greatest nations on earth.
In addition to that if we manage to harness the potential of our diaspora, Nigeria would indeed become a nation of GOOD PEOPLE-GREAT NATION.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. 5:16-17
Ever since I started my active position on our national affairs, many have written me voicing their concerns like “When does this Pastor have time to preach in his church?”, “When does he have time to pray?”, “When does this Pastor have time to read the bible?”, “How come he spends so much time writing these articles?”, “Is anyone paying him?” I hope this article on the value of time opens the eyes of my friends and readers to receive answers to their questions. Even though I too have only 24 hours a day like any other person, I nevertheless have managed to master my day, to be able to do all I need to do, to achieve the goals that I needed to achieve.
I must confess that it's quite a sacrifice for me to come out with a new article every day, especially since I write 10 pages on average. However, the love for my fatherland compels me. Yes, I have to devote between 6- 8 hours a day to these articles. But I still have time to do all I need to do in a day, sacrificing less important things. I try my best to make the full use of my 86, 400 seconds of life entrusted into my hands in a day by the Almighty. I must confess though that I have some experience in this, since I endeavor to write at least a book every week, for the second year running.
What I am trying to say brethren is, we must all lay a demand on our time, on every second of the day. We have to turn it into a valuable product as much as we can (the topic of how to convert time to tangible product is for another day). You will not believe this, most people in my church here in Ukraine don't even know I am writing anything for Nigeria. They feel I devote all my time to them.
I know I have not expatiated much on the methodology, systems and structures that must be put in place by Nigeria to ensure that we change our attitude to time. I would leave that to the government officials, who are full time workers for our nation.
I am trying to refrain myself from writing long articles, especially noticing that some of my readers are always commenting that my articles are too long. I would keep the rest to myself for now. Be on the lookout for the next ones!
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