ASSESSMENT OF IMF LOAN POLICY ON ECONOMY DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA.
CIVILIAN RULE (1999-2015)
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Development is a universal attribute of man and matter, of society and nature, but the direction and speed of the process in man and society can effectively be controlled, and in nature, considerably influenced, by him. However, development involves areas of economic, political, sociocultural, technological and individual.
Sustainable economic growth is a major concern for any sovereign nation most especially the developing countries which are characterized by low capital formation due to low levels of domestic savings and investment (Adepoju, Salau and Obayelu, 2007). It is expected that these DC when facing a scarcity of capital would resort to borrowing from external sources so as to supplement domestic savings, thus, the constant need for governments to borrow in order to finance budget deficit has led to the emergence of IMF loan.
IMF Loan Policy as a technique of economic management to bring about Sustainable economic growth and development has been the pursuit of nations and formal articulation of how money affects economic aggregates dates back the time of Adams Smith and later championed by the government. Since the expositions of the role of IMF Loan Policy in influencing macroeconomic objectives like economic growth, price stability, equilibrium in balance of payments and host of other objectives, monetary authorities are saddled the responsibility of using this policy to grow their economies. In Nigeria, IMF Loan Policy has been used since the Central bank of Nigeria was saddled the responsibility of formulating and implementing IMF Loan Policy by Central bank Act of 1958.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was conceived and nurtured at Bretton Woods Conference (USA) in 1944 by representatives of forty-four (44) countries. These countries include among others, United States of America, Japan, Canada, Britain and few Latin American countries. The conference was called to discuss the international trade and payment problems that were causing monetary upheaval and inducing many countries to adopt protective and restrictive trade practices. The conference was also called to reconstruct and restructure many European economies, which have been ravaged by the Second World War.
For Nigeria the prospect of international loans offers a mixed blessing, for the country economic development. With Nigeria seeking international loans to help ease their oil pain, investors are hoping that any loans will lead to a revision of their worrisome economic policies, Moreso, looking at recent reports suggesting low oil prices are here to stay, major producers are pulling out a number of stops in order to outlast a devastating slide that has seen many pushed to the brink.
Reconstruction and restructuring a war-ravaged economy is extremely an expensive task. The countries involved obviously could not foot the bill of such huge expenditure without foreign assistance. The united states of America was ready to protect these European economies from communist temptation thus, quickly devised what came to be known as the Marshal plan, which essentially brought in resources to finance the reconstruction and restructuring programmes of the war ravaged Western European countries. The United States of America also considered it necessary to establish a strong and lasting trading relationship and to strengthen the relation and interest of alt the Western European countries.
Therefore, to facilitate and promote such international trade, it was considered very important to set up an international organization with adequate resources and control to facilitate the payment and provide short-term balance of payment facilities for countries suffering from balance of payment deficit caused by temporary and non-structural economic dislocations. This conception gave birth to international monetary fund as an institution suitable for this purpose.
Just recently, the Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, IMF, Christine Lagarde has asked Nigeria and Nigerians to brace up for harder times, following the massive fall in the price of oil globally, just as she said that the country since inception recorded the slowest pace of growth in the year 2015, thereby calling for increase in Value Added Tax(VAT),as a result of the federal government finding it hard to broaden the country’s tax base against the backdrop that Nigeria has the lowest VAT rate in the African continent.
When the International Monetary Fund was established in 1944 (World Bank Report 1996), most of the developing countries were under colonial rule and their economies were simply under imperial control with nothing but simple agricultural products and raw materials which were regarded as products of imperial countries. The International Monetary Fund was therefore essentially set up to address short-term balance of payment deficit of western industrial countries. The articles establishing International Monetary Fund stipulated that as developing countries are becoming independence they could join the International Monetary Fund since they might also experience short-term balance of payment crises for which they could seek and perhaps get assistance.
Nigeria became signatory to World Bank Articles of Agreement in 1961, shortly after her independence in 1960. This is exactly 17 years, after the World Bank came to existence. Since then, the World bank assisted projects in Nigeria amounts to not less than 120 projects and over 121 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) credit Nigeria’s inability to service her debts and failure to strictly implement the loan conditionalities (i.e. economic reform programme) the World Bank disengaged from Nigeria. The recent re-engagement with Nigeria since 1999 was not merely as a result of the de-militarization and democratization of the Nigerian polity, but also as a result of the willingness and determination on the part of Obasanjo’s Administration to pursue and fully implement a world Bank Sanctioned and approved economic reform as encapsulated in the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS) document. as of July, 2006, the World Bank assistance to Nigeria involves 20 active (on-going projects with the commitment value of about US $1.9 billion. These 20 active projects cover all the major sectors of the Nigerian economy including privatization programme; community – based projects; health – care system; educational sector (i.e UBEP); urban development projects and power sector reform. For example, World Bank Supported the privatization programme with the sum of US $100 million, urban development programme (i.e. Lagos metropolitan projects) with US $ 200 million. As of January, 2010, over 1600 communities in the first phased states of the community-based development project have successfully completed 1,017 sub-projects that include 348 school projects, 350 water projects, 90 road projects, 90 health projects, 72 electricity projects and 67 other projects such as environmental protection, training centres and commercial markets.
Long before the onset of civil rule in 1999, the lack of electricity to power Nigeria’s development has been a much discussed subject. First, the problem was to be solved in six months, then in 18 months, then by the end of 2007, when Nigerians were assured of constant power supply. President Muhammed Buhari in his inaugural address in 2015 also made the provision of electricity a major priority in his agenda, yet it is clear that without electricity there can be no industrial development and all those grand visions of becoming one of the World’s leading economies by 2020 cannot be realized.
It is widely recognized in the international community that excessive foreign indebtedness in most developing countries is a major impediment to their economic growth and stability (Audu, 2004; Mutasa, 2003). Developing countries like Nigeria have often contracted large amount of external loan grants that has led to the mounting of trade debt arrears at highly concessional interest rates. Gohar and Butt (2012) opined that accumulated debt service payments create a lot of problems for countries especially the developing nations reason being that a debt is actually serviced for more than the amount it was acquired and this slows down the growth process in such nations. The inability of the Nigerian economy to meet its debt service payments obligations has resulted in debt overhang or debt service burden that has militated against her growth and development (Audu, 2004). The genesis of Nigeria’s debt service burden dates back to 1999 till date, yet there’s a fall in world oil prices, and prior to this occurrence Nigeria had incurred some minor debts from World Bank in 1958 with a loan of US$28million dollars for railway construction and the Paris Club debtor nations in 1964 from the Italian government with a loan of US$13.1 million for the construction of the Niger dam. The first major borrowing of US$1 billion known as the ”Jumbo loan” was in 1978 from the International Capital Market (ICM).
Furthermore, the rise of IMF lending and crisis mediation since the early 1980s reflects, in large part, the development of dysfunctional relationship between lenders and borrowers in international finance. Referring the relationship requires that moral hazard be reduced and that crises prevention and management be more effective. The IMFs new initiatives to deal with crises, however are likely to be ineffective. An approval based on greater reliance on two-party negotiation holds more promise in stabilizing the international financial system than current approach, in which the IMF too often becomes a burdensome third party.
Finally, it is no exaggeration that this is the major challenge faced by the Nigerian economy. The inability of the Nigerian economy to effectively meet its IMF loan repayment requirements has exposed the nation to a high debt service burden. The resultant effect of this debt service burden creates additional problems for the nation particularly the increasing fiscal deficit which is driven by higher levels of loan grants. This poses a grave threat to the economy as a large chunk of the nation’s hard earned revenue is being eaten up. Nigeria’s external debt outstanding stood at US$28.35 million in 2001 which was about 59.4% of GDP from US$8.5 million in 1980 which was about 14.6% of GDP (WDI 2013). The debt crisis reached its maximum in 2003 when US$2.3 billion was transferred to service Nigeria’s external debt.
1.9. DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Loan: A business transaction between two entities whereby one party (the lender) agrees to rent fund to the second party (the borrower). The fund may be rented with or without a fee. This fee is called interest or discount.
- Long-term debts: Are liabilities that become due more than one year after the signal of the agreement? Usually these are formal legal agreements demanding periodic payments of interest until the maturity date at which the principal amount is repaid.
- Monetary Policy: That part of economic policy which regulates the level of money or liquidity in order to achieve some desired policy objective such as control of inflation, an improvement in the balance of payment position, high level of employment and growth in the economy.
- IMF: International Monetary Fund
- Balance of Payment: It is defined as the statistical record of all economic transaction that takes during a specific period of time between the country resident and the rest of the world.
- Economic development can be defined vices as efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.
- IBRD : International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP): an economic measure aimed at revamping the economy. It is based on a policy of privatization and commercialization of public utilities, removal of subsidies, liberalization and self-reliance.
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