TRADE LIBERALISATION AND THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA, 1986-2000.

AUTHOR: ONUEGBU, FESTUS CHIBUIKE

DEPARTMENT: HISTORY AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

Arguably, the sudden slumps in the prices of crude oil in the international market in the late 1970s and t early 1980s, in the face of high import-dependence and budget deficits on the part of Nigeria, prepared the path for the eventual entrapment of the country in a complex web of endemic economic crisis. Te socio-economic strains and contortions depended. Nigeria was saddled with debt-burden as external borrowing became a routine; the contributions of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell in absolute terms; export products fell in values; there were food crises and high inflation mounted. Although spirited but temporal interventionist efforts were made by the government from the late 1982 to the middle of 1985 in the aspects of administering austerity measures banning several import items, raising the interest rates of commercial banks, and cutting down government expenses, yet things did not change. The economic down-turns at a worrisome crisis level continued and, even, went out of hand. Thence, the idea of negotiating a loan facility IMF became a heated public debate. Despite that the expected IMF loan was rejected by a Nigeria because of its western-instigated nature and the calculated harsh consequences it would have on the Nigerian economy, in 1986, the then military government under General Ibrahim Babangida, in what it claimed to be “a home- grown” economic recovery-cum-development initiative, opted for the structural adjustment programme (SAP) which was completely teleguided by IMF and World Bank. Consequently, under this capitalist- development-embourgeoisement, ‘trade liberalisation’, as precondition for development, was aggressively implemented. The expectations of the would be economic turn-arounds that would come with it were so high considering the then prevailing neo-liberal but seemingly misleading logic that it would facilitate free flow of goods, investments, efficient technology, and capital necessary for authentic industrialisation and growth of the economy. Taking the path of ‘centre periphery/dependency’ theoretical paradigm as the explicatory framework, the study critically examines the impact of trade liberalization on Nigeria’s economy after about a decade of its take-off , in the light of her development challenge. Conclusively, the work contends that trade liberalisation was a false solution to Nigeria’s economic crisis; hence, it further impeded than it enhanced her development process. However this study believes that Nigeria’s economic crisis and development problem are not unsolvable. Far from breaking with capitalism or delinking from the interdependent asymmetries of global economy, it advocates for what it calls ‘state-assisted capitalism for creditable enhancement of Nigeria’s economic growth and development in the face of current global economic liberalism. Finally, this study adopts historical-analytical method of discussion, and makes use of both primary and secondary sources of data collection.

TO VIEW THE FULL CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, PLEASE VISIT THE UNIZIK LIBRARY WEBSITE USING THIS LINK, http://naulibrary.org/dglibrary/admin/book_directory/History_International_Relations/11423.pdf

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