THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (NEEDS) AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA, 2003 – 2014
The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) was initiated and implemented under Olusegun Obasanjo administration to strengthen the entire sectors of the Nigerian economy. This study therefore, critically evaluates the impact of the NEEDS on sustainable human development in Nigeria between 2003 and 2014. Using the Marxist instrumentalist theory as a theoretical framework of analysis and adopting the secondary source of data collection which includes books, scholarly journals, pamphlets, monographs, newspapers, magazine and government documents
.The one-shot ex-post facto design and qualitative-descriptive of documented evidence was used as a method of data analysis. The study affirmed that the programme has contributed to the deteriorating condition of Nigerian economy as unemployment and poverty abound despite foreign assistance. The study recommends among others, sustained and continuous government intervention in the economy to manage and distribute resources more efficiently among the citizens.
1.1 Background of the Study
The Nigerian economy has always been in crisis despite the occasional boom and windfall. Consequently, successive government from 1960 to date have adopted various economic strategies to revamp and sustain the Nigeria economy(Onuoha 2008:7). For the purpose of this study we shall undertake a case- by – case review of the policies and programmes of these administrations from 1960 to 2007.
Tafawa Balewa Regime 1960 to 1966, in this period, the state adopted the strategy of state intervention in the economy to ensure adequate protection of the domestic economy. The principal objectives of the Nigerian state at this time were of two folds namely; to provide basic infrastructure, to accelerate economic growth and moderate economic transactions in order to ensure social equity in the distribution of the dividend of development. This strategy was a desideratum given the bleak economic indexes and the quantum of capital in the private sector of the economy at the time.
The General Yakubu Gowon regime, from 1967to1975, the broad framework of the Gowon administration’s approach to economic management and development was laid down in the Second National Development Plan. The plan was aimed to serve largely as a means of reconstructing facilities damaged by the Nigerian civil war and promoting economic and social development throughout the nation (Olaloku, et al 1984).
Mohammed andObasanjo Administration, from 1975 to 1979, General Murtala Mohammed overthrew Gowon in a military coup on July, 29 1975 in what can be described as a reformist coup. He justified his coup on the grounds of mis -governance, corruption and fiscal policy indiscipline. His first target was to decimate the entrenched groups of the rentier class, in and outside the government. According to Olson (2004), he was initially successful, but was assassinated in 1976, in what Nwaobi(2004), suggested to be a rentier assassination. With the exit of Murtala Mohammed, the successor Obasanjo administration embarked on pro-poor policies such as Accelerated Food Protection programme, World Bank Assisted Agricultural Development Project, River Basin Development Authority schemes and Operation Feed the Nation among others.
GeneralBuhari Administration from 1984 to 1985,as soon as General Buhari assumed duties, the regime embarked on wage freeze, substantial cuts in government spending and a clampdown on sundry economic saboteurs with the legal instrument of miscellaneous offences Decree No 20, 1984. The regime currency change in early 1984 rendered almost six billion naira in circulation worthless at the expiring of the exercise.
The Babangida Administration from 1985 to 1993 built its economic policy on Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). The programme was supported by the International Monetary Fund through its loans and supervision to revamp the economy that is on the verge of collapse.
The General Abacha regime from 1994 to 1998 was built on protectionist economic policies like banning of importation and foreign investment. According to Sani Abacha (1994) the economic foundation of the nation had been badly shaken and a viable political system cannot stand on a fragile economic base. The administration quickly closed the border to check the influx of foreign goods and ensured that only
vehicles not older than 5years could be imported into the country. This protectionist policy of the regime marked him out as a true nationalist and encouraged the local entrepreneurs to participate in the economy they had previously lost during the Babangida regime.
Olusegun Obasanjo regime from 1999 to 2007, with the return to civilian rule in 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo’s economic reform programme was encapsulated in the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). The NEEDS policy whose implementation began in 2003 was a four years(2003-2007) medium term development plan and it was expected to be implemented by all the three tiers of government and other stakeholders including the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs) and the general public. According to Executive summary of the document:
NEEDS is not just a plan on paper, it is a plan on the ground and founded on a clear vision, sound values
and enduring principles. It is a medium term strategy (2003-07) but which derives from the country’s
long-term goals of poverty reduction, wealth creation, employment generation and values reorientation.
NEEDS is a nationally coordinated framework of action in close collaboration with the state and local government (with their state Economic Empowerment and Development-SEEDS and other stakeholders to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years (1999-2003) and build a solid foundation for the attainment of Nigeria’s long term vision of becoming the largest and strongest African Economy and key player in the world economy(NEEDS 2004).
Based on the above, the study critically examines the linkage between the implementation of NEEDS and Sustainable Human Development in Nigeria between 2003 and 2014