Growth elements in Nigeria’s planning process

NIGERIA has had many plans and budgets since independence in 1960. Nigeria had four National Development Plans in the period 1962-1985: 1962-68, 1970-74, 1975-80 and 1980-85. Nigeria also adopted the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and its Rolling Plans in 1986. SAP remains the main programme Nigeria is implementing today, because the principal elements, philosophy and ideological inclination in 1986 have not changed and they have been the basis of managing the Nigerian economy. So, Nigeria has always been planning and budgeting.

While Nigerian government officials claimed to have been implementing reforms – NEEDS, 9-point Agenda, Vision 20:2020 and Transformation Agenda – SAP’s elements: The mandatory devaluation machinery now known as the Dutch Auction System, privatization of public enterprises and adoption of deregulation (market economic philosophy) as the economic philosophy for managing public projects and activities and technology transfer strategy remain the principal features of the Nigerian economy. It is the elements of a programme that determine its impact on the people. Nigeria has been achieving growth without development (GWD) for decades because Nigeria’s planning and budgeting processes lack growth elements.

Consequently, unemployment, poverty and high crime wave as problems have been worsening. Also there are no physical structures to show for the trillions of naira budgets announced every year and the rapidly growing national debts. Nigerian governments, like the unusual pupil repeating a class for decades, certainly, have been wasting resources and imposing unnecessary and untold hardship on the ignorant and unsuspecting citizenry. Nigeria’s planning must have growth elements if the nation is to make progress.

Planning is the act of putting together the thoughts and activities necessary for achieving desired objectives. A nation ought to adopt a correct planning framework and an appropriate planning theory. Proper planning must be devoid of false and inappropriate assumptions. The most popular planning framework is the rational planning framework (RPF): Establish objectives, establish planning premises, determine alternative courses of action, evaluate alternative premises, select course of action and formulate derivative plan. Nigeria has always been setting day-dreaming objectives – education and housing for all in year 2000, food for all, Vision 20:2020, etc. because those planning for the country do not understand growth and development processes. No one solves a problem he or she does not understand.

The evolutionists and modernists proposed that primitive people and places might be made modern by transferring resources, especially technology from the rich west to them. This is the origin of International Technology Transfer (ITT) in its various forms as the main development strategy for African and Latin-American nations. Nigeria has existed for 54 years as a flag-independent nation with western nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the very few Nigerians in these financial institutions throwing money at every problem and promoting stagnation. In truth, Nigeria has not been planning at all, thus its stagnating mass unemployment, prevalent poverty, high crime wave, increasing general hopelessness and high rate of debt accumulation. This is the reason many states cannot pay salaries today. The Federal Government of Nigeria will soon be unable to pay salaries and service debts, if it continues to throw money at every problem without thinking, as the nation has been doing for almost 55 years.

To introduce growth elements into Nigeria’s planning and budgeting processes, it must adopt appropriate planning framework, planning theory and realistic assumptions.

In terms of planning theory, our research shows that mere capital investment does not promote sustainable economic growth and industrialization (Ogbimi, 1992; and Ogbimi, 2007). All structures depreciate in intrinsic value with time and usage, hence they are Depreciating Assets (DAs). So, a nation emphasizing the erection of structures may be likened to one trying to fill a profusely leaking water tank with water. The nation emphasizing the erection of structures cannot achieve sustainable growth; it cannot build-up competence rapidly; the production strength of the nation will perpetually be decreasing. Also the nation would perpetually be seeking money to erect and restore depreciated values; the nation would have high propensity for accumulating debts. An artisan nation like Nigeria emphasizing the erection of structures awards many inflated contracts and promotes speculation and corruption.

Abramovitz (1956), Solow (1957) and Gerschenkron (1966) all demonstrated that mere capital investment does not promote sustainable growth and industrialization and advised economists to look away from capital investment in search of the source of sustainable growth and industrialization (Thirlwall, 1972). That the west, the World Bank, IMF and economists still promote throwing money at every problem after over 50 years since these works confirm my observation that the world is in crisis because many people are trying to solve the problems they do not understand.

All persons are born as crying babies. The baby soon begins to babble (learns how to talk), acquires the competences to talk and talks (Ogbimi, 1990). The baby who could not babble grows up to be a dumb adult. Talking or speaking is a skill (Hurlock, 1972). The child must also learn how to read and write, otherwise, he/she grows up to be an illiterate. No one or nation is born with the skills to produce. All knowledge, skills and competences are acquired through learning. One who wishes to be a good dancer must learn how to dance.

A nation which hopes to manufacture many products must develop the people to manufacture them. The talented pianist must play the ordinary tunes before using his talents to compose extra-ordinary tunes (Ogbimi, 1990). Learning and acquiring new knowledge, skills and competences and applying these in solving problems including production, are the primary sources of achieving sustainable growth and industrialization (Ogbimi, 1991). Nigeria is stagnating because it has been neglecting learning (education and training) activities.

•Ogbimi wrote via fogbimi@yahoo.com

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1 Comment
  • emmanuel kalu

    very good article. i would add to this problem, nigeria has a planning issue, it also has an implementation issue. simple things that can be implemented by someone with a secondary education, continues to elude our leaders. this is the reason i have said, nigeria need a national project mgmt agency. their sole mandate would be examine, plan and supervise every major govt project. they would also be in charge of approving the amount for the project

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