Monday, June 6

Transformation of Nigerian Economy

Transformation of Nigerian Economy
Many rigorous and conscious efforts had been made in the form of extended national perspective plans that attempted to mobilize human, material and natural resources of the nation to achieve goals of national life.

However, in implementation, these efforts failed to address structural and fundamental distortions in the economic, social and political life of the nation. In order to employ a meaningful problem-solving approach to certain economic phenomenon, we need to consider the efforts that had been put in place and their effects on the happenings in the economy as a whole.

In 1986, the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was introduced by Babangida administration to address the fundamental and structural imbalance in the economy, diversify the economy, strengthen the currency and build a viable, sustainable industrial infrastructure upon which real economic growth and development can be founded. The programme rested on realization of liberalization of foreign exchange transactions, optimization of the capacity for domestic production and stimulation of non-oil exports.

In 2004, the Obasanjo administration introduced National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). The NEEDS reform programme rested on four strategies:
-     Reforming government and institutions
-     Growing the private sector
-     Implementing a social charter
-     Value re-orientation

The complimentary tools for the realization of the above goals included Pension Reforms, Energy and Power Reforms, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Corrupt and Allied Offences Commission and Financial Sector Reforms.

With the advent of the Yar'Adua administration in 2007, the Federal Government articulated the 7-point Agenda for national development. The policy thrust revolved around the seven-point contract of the administration with Nigerian people: Energy, Education, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Wealth Creation and Poverty Alleviation, Land Reforms, and Security. The point was further made that these reforms would catapult Nigeria to the rank of one of the twenty (20) most developed countries by the year 2020.

It is said that after more than fifty years of policy reforms, Nigeria has painfully remained:
-     A public-sector led economy with a bloated government presence in every facet of national life;
-     A nation with very weak private sector which a “rent-seeking and unproductive culture of over-dependence on government patronage and contracts with little or no value added” (Harneit-Sievers, 2004);
-     A mono-crop economy with preponderant influence of one commodity in determining the nation's revenue – expenditure profile and the balance of payment position;
-     A nation without an effective industrial infrastructure for economic take-off;
-     An extractive and primary economy that produce unrefined raw materials for expert, either in the form of agricultural or crude oil;
-     A nation with more than ten (10) million unemployed youths and high percentage of brain drain.

The reasons for these economic happenings are not farfetched. The first is associated with poor finance of educational and industrial sector.

Nigeria, as an economy, fails to realize that no country can grow beyond the standard of its education and level of production. Any country experiencing poor finance of two sectors will empathically pass through the consequent effects of paradox of living in poverty in the midst of plenty, waste of resources, increase in crime rate and the like.

Reference should also be made to the fact that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the society, that is, it is one of the major economic parasites eating up the base of every sector in Nigeria.

By and large, there is no nation without economic and social problem but with unity and love for our dear country, we can kill the “economic parasite” and build the future that we want. This lies in the hand of three economic agents: the households, business firms and government.

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