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GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC POLICIES AND NIGERIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH 1960-2010 (A CRITICAL ANALYSIS)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria’s economic aspirations have remained that of altering the structure of production and base and reducing dependence on oil with the aim of putting the economy on a part of sustainable, all-inclusive and non-inflationary growth (Sanusi, 2010).
The implication of this is that while rapid growth in output, as measured by the real gross domestic product (GDP), is important, the transformation of the various sectors of the economy is even more critical. This is consistent with the growth aspirations of most developing countries, as the structure of the economy is expected to change as growth progresses.
Successive governments have since independence in 1960, pursued the goal of structural changes without much success. The growth dynamics have been propelled by the existence and exploitation of natural resources and primary products. Initially, the agricultural sector, driven by the demand for food and cash crops production was the centre of the growth process, contributing 54.7% to the GDP during the 19060s. The second decade of independence saw the emergence of the oil industry as the main driver of growth. Since then, the economy has mainly gyrated with the boom-burst cycles of the oil industry. Government expenditure outlays that are dependent on oil revenues have more or less dictated the pace of growth of the economy.
The Nigerian economy has grossly underperformed relative to her enormous resource endowment and her peer nations (Victor, 2011). It has the 6th largest gas reserves and the 8th largest crude oil reserves in the world. It is endowed in commercial quantities with about 37 solid mineral types and has a population of over 150 million persons. Yet economic performance has been rather pared and does not reflect these endowments. Compared with the emerging Asian countries, notably, Thailand, Malaysia, China, India and Indonesia that were far behind Nigeria in terms of GDP per capita in 1970, these countries have transformed their economies and are not only miles ahead of Nigeria, but are also major players on the global economic arenas.
The major factors accounting for the relative decline of the country’s economic fortunes are easily identifiable as political instability, lack of focused and visionary leadership, economic mismanagement and corruption. Prolonged period of military rule stifled economic and social progress, particularly in the three decades of 1970s to 1990s. However, since 1999, the country returned to the path of civil democratic governance and has sustained uninterrupted democratic rule for a period of 11 years. Economic growth has risen substantially, with annual average of 7.4% in the last decade. But the growth has not been indusive, broad-base and transformational. Agriculture and services have been the main drivers of growth. The implication of this trend is that economic growth in Nigeria has not resulted in the desired structural changes that would make manufacturing the engine development and induce poverty alleviation (Sanusi, 2010).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the light of the poor performance of the economy since independence in 1960, despite the huge mineral, material and human endowment, as well as the accelerating dynamics of the global economy, what are the prospects of the economy in the short-to-medium term? In other worlds, can the Nigerian economy move from the historical sluggish growth trends to a vibrant growth path than can transform the structure of the economy and enable her to attainment the vision enunciated under vision 20:2020 and launch her into the league of advanced economics?
This prompted the researcher to make a critical analysis of the government economic policies vis-à-vis Nigerian economic growth from independence in 1960 to 2010. The findings will assist the government in pathing a new course on policy formulations for sustained economic growth.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The objective of the study is to examine the growth patterns of the Nigerian economy from 1960-2010. Also the study has the following specific objectives:
To examine the causes of poor economic performance of Nigerian despite her abundant natural and human resources.
To examine through policy regimes to the nature and structure of the economy and performance trends.
To assess the challenges facing the Nigerian economy.
To assess the economic prospects of Nigeria beyond the year 2010.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were developed as a useful guide to the execution of this project:
Has government policies accelerate the economic growth of Nigeria?
Has abundant natural and human resources aid the economic development of Nigeria?
Has lack of focuses and visionary leadership showed down the economic growth of Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To empirically address the problems in this study, the following hypotheses are formulated and stated in their null form:
There is no significant relationship between government policies and economic growth of Nigeria.
Abundant natural and human resources does not aid the economic development of Nigeria.
Lack of focused and visionary leadership does not slow down the economic growth of Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study on government economic policies and Nigerian economic growth from 1960-2010 examines the extent of government policies in the economic growth of the country and thus shed more light on how successive government policies from independence has contributed to the economic growth of the nation. The result from this investigation may serve as a source of information to policy makers in the public sector on how to impact on the economy through their policy formulation.
Also, the study is an exercise in the liberal arts which literally implies a course of study to develop knowledge necessary for the advancement of the society. They significance of this study rest on the fact that the findings might help to stimulate other researchers into this area of study.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The investigation was beset with problems that acted as constraints to the researcher in the course of the research work. These include lack of time, dearth of materials on the subject mater, both from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Uyo and Ministry of Economic Development, Uyo.
1.8 ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
The study is presented in five chapters for comprehension and ease of understanding. Chapter one deals with the introducing aspect of the study consisting of the background of the study, statement of the problem which necessitated this research, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, limitations of the study and organisation of the study.
Chapter two provides literature to provide secondary and theoretical background to the study.
Chapter three presents the research method, design and procedure employed in conducting the study. It points out the study area, population, sample and sampling method, research instrument, administration of the instrument and methods of data analysis.
Chapter four is concerned with data presentation, analysis and interpretation, while chapter five provide a summary, conclusion and recommendations.
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