IMPACT OF INTERNATION TRADE ON THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA 1980-2012

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IMPACT OF INTERNATION TRADE ON THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA 1980-2012

 

 

1.1.         BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In our economy today we are privileged to make use of the advanced world countries’ products having risen from improved or advanced technologies of the world. We even eat their type of food, wear their type of cloth, drive in their kind of cars etc. without having to do all these in their country. Also we enjoy the best of products from neighboring countries without having to travel there to get or use it. All these are made possible by international trade. International trade has a direct effect on the economy of any country as the country sees the need for the exchange of ideas, products and technologies. This effect could either be positive or negative at each given point in time.

International trade can be traced back to the need for exchange which evolved from the barter system to the money system. International trade became popular with the advent of the colonial rule that brought their wares and made Nigerians their middle men (Nick 2008). The classical and neo-classical economists have attaches so much importance to international trade in an economy’s growth that they even regard it as an engine of economic growth (Jhingan 2006) and so we can say that the performance of any economic in terms of growth rate of output and per capita income is not only based on the domestic production and consumption activities but it can also be based on the international transaction of goods and services. One of the major reasons why countries engage in international trade is to obtain the goods and services which they cannot produce in the home country or commodity which its cost of production is very high. To solve this problem, the classical economist, David Ricardo suggested that countries should specialize on the production and exportation of goods whose cost of production is low and import the product whose cost of production is high for the country. This is what Ricardo referred to as ‘the theory of comparative advantage’.

From the little write up above, we can see that international trade is actually a catalyst or speed up for economic growth and thus international trade has been of a great concern to policy makers in the country. For developing countries like Nigeria, its participation in international trade is high as most of the essential facilities for growth e.g. capital goods, technical know-how, raw materials are entirely imported because of inadequate domestic supply of these goods. Increased domestic demand sure reduces the expansion of exports, thus to enhance export capacity, improved technology must be imported which in turn raises the demand for imported goods. There is every tendency that import would be raised far above export which would result to an unfavorable balance of trade. Prolonged pressure on the country’s balance of payment shrinks economic growth and so appropriate economic policy measures have to be put in place to streamline international trade for the achievement of a desirable economic growth.

The Nigerian economy has overdependence on the capital intensive oil sector which provides about 15% of the GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 75% of the government revenue. Nigeria which used to be a large net exporter of food now imports some of its food product as the agricultural sector could not cope with the increasing population growth. The overdependence on the oil sector has not only led to unbalanced trade but has resulted to economic fluctuations and this has been a major challenge for Nigeria. Even the Structural Adjustment Programme of 1986 whose major aim was to diversify the productive base of the economy could not achieve this till date as we are still dependent on the revenue accruing from oil produce.

1.2     STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Before Nigeria’s political independence in October 1960, Nigeria was actively involved in international trade. Nigeria’s main export was primary agricultural commodities which accounted for 70.8% of the total export and its relative contribution to GDP was almost 64% during that period. This agricultural commodity comprises of groundnut, cocoa, palm oil cotton and rubber. At that time, the oil sector accounted for only 2.6% of the total export and its relative contribution to GDP was 1.6%. This story is no longer the same starting from the 1970s. Why? The discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Olobiri in the year 1956 made Nigeria to become a “hot cake” and an important player in the world market. In the first half of the 1970s, there was an increase in the price of oil in the world market which made Nigeria to experience oil boom. The proceeds from oil were so high and this showed a great sign to a start of a prosperous economic development in the country. This made the government’s focus to move from the non-oil sector almost fully to the oil sector causing other sectors of the economy to suffer setback. The agricultural, industrial, manufacturing sector’s relative contribution to GDP and export fell so much as a result of over-dependence on the oil sector. Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil producing about 2.2 million barrels per day.

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IMPACT OF INTERNATION TRADE ON THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA 1980-2012

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