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 bases of managing the Nigerian economy.  Whereas Nigerian government officials claimed to have been implementing REFORMS, NEEDS, 9-point  Agenda, Vision 20:2020 and TRANSFORMATION AGENDA,  ERGP (the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017) and now Budget of Consolidation,  SAPs elements:  the mandatory currency devaluation machinery (the foreign exchange market) now known by various names, privatization of public enterprises and adoption of deregulation(frequent increase in prices of petroleum products) as the economic philosophy for managing public projects and activities and technology transfer strategy remain the principal features of the Nigerian economy.

Some Nigerians and their foreign friends, the World Bank and IMF who have been influencing Nigeria’s economic policy over the decades, like to deceive the ignorant public that it is the name of a programme that counts, rather than the elements. They are wrong. 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 have always lacked growth elements.

Economists claim that growth comes from the capital rather than the recurrent part of budget because they were brought up to believe that mere capital investment promotes sustainable economic growth. But  they are wrong. The research works of Charles Cobb (a mathematician) and Paul Douglas (economist) in 1928, Douglas (1948), Abramowitz (1956) and Solow (1957) showed that capital contributes very little to achieving sustainable economic growth and industrialization. Gerschenkron (1966) examined the Western industrialization experience and found out that capital investment was not a prerequisite to it.

Consequently, unemployment, poverty and high crime wave 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 have merely been wasting resources and imposing unnecessary and untold hardship on the ignorant and unsuspecting citizenry. Growth elements must be introduced into Nigeria’s planning, if the nation is to make progress. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to explain how the missing growth elements can be introduced into Nigeria’s planning and budgeting process to promote growth that makes positive impact on the people, growth that promotes competence-building (or growth that increases individual and national capabilities for solving problems including production) and growth that promotes industrialization and transformation of the Nigerian economy from its agricultural status into an industrialized one so as to eliminate unemployment, poverty, hopelessness and high crime wave.

The industrialized European and Asian nations and the United States of America were like African nations of today, a long time ago. That is, they had agricultural economies and were unable to produce or manufacture scientific products. However, they learnt over the centuries and acquired the knowledge, skills and competences (KSCs) they now use in solving problems including manufacturing.  It is for this understanding that learning is the primary basis of industrialization that virtually all nations in the world have educational institutions today. Sadly, still, Western education (economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology, etc., and related fields like accounting, management, banking, law, etc.) do not understand the science of transforming an agricultural economy into an industrialized one. Because economists and others whose expertise derived from acquiring Western education and related fields were brought up to believe that mere capital investment promotes sustainable economic growth and industrialization,  they throw money at all problems. So, economists measure changes in GDP. But it is not mere changes in GDP that Nigeria and other African nations need.

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, it 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, 1990a). Learning and acquiring new knowledge, skills and competences and applying these in solving problems including production, are the primary sources of achieving sustainable economic growth and industrialization (Ogbimi, 1991). Nigeria is stagnating because it has been neglecting learning activities. Erecting infrastructure does not translate into sustainable economic growth and industrialization.

Learning and acquiring KSCs for solving problems including production go beyond establishing educational systems. Quite often, educationists view education as an end by itself. Viewed this way, many nations have educational system because other nations have; education is a social burden which every nation bears. Unfortunately, education, alone, co-exists with mass unemployment and poverty as it has been the situations in Africa and Latin-America nations for decades.

The duality of nature – up/down, man/woman, night/day, right/left, etc., suggests that there are two sides to learning, education and training. An individual may acquire education (fundamental principles) or training (practical skills), alone or combined. Anyone who acquires either theory or practical skills, alone, is a mediocre person (Ogbimi, 1991). The versatile individual is one who acquires both theory and practical skills to appreciable levels (Ogbimi, 1991). Nigeria has a mediocre and illiterate work force.

In any nation, all workers including the artisans and craftsmen, are also involved in learning. In Nigeria and all other nations in Africa, there is no linkage between those learning in educational institutions and the rest of the economy. Lack of linkages confers weakness to a system, whereas linkage creates strength ( because the system enjoys economies of scale, using the economists’ concept). So, the Nigerian economy is weakened for lack of linkages; the learning people either acquiring theoretical principles, alone, or a small quantity of practical skills alone. This is the reason virtually all the 300,000 university graduates armed with the plenty theoretical principles produced in Nigeria today, join the unemployment queue.

The growth elements Nigeria must introduce into its planning and budgeting processes to promote KSCs-building growth are: 1)to accept and adopt the proven theory that learning is the primary basis of promoting KSCs-build-up and industrialization, 2) set up a standing training framework to ensure that all graduates of educational institutions, university graduates especially, must acquire curriculum-based complementary practical skill for  sufficiently long times(4-5 years for the university graduate) to possess necessary competence,  and 3) ensure all necessary linkages within learning groups and between learning groups are established. This is how Nigeria can promote rapid industrialization as solution to unemployment, low productivity, poverty, indiscipline, high crime wave, hopelessness, etc.

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