A Comparative Study On The Oil Sector And The Agricultural Sector; The Nigerian Experience On Balance Of Payment (1981-2011)

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A Comparative Study On The Oil Sector And The Agricultural Sector; The Nigerian Experience On Balance Of Payment (1981-2011)


This study aims to evaluate the oil sector and the agricultural sector in Nigeria from 1981 to 2011. The role of agriculture in the Nigerian society has been very important, even in the pre-colonial era. The attractiveness of the Nigerian agricultural sector to the colonialist formed largely on the basis for the development of the railway system north of the coast through the east and west of the country since it was the need to evacuate agricultural products from the hinterland to the coast for shipment onward to Europe as raw material to supply the British industries.

The agricultural sector used to be the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. It provided for the nation, generated revenues and foreign exchange earnings to the government, provided the raw materials for industry, generated employment and has contributed more than 50% of gross domestic product (GDP). This took place until the 1970s, when the oil sector came and took the Agriculture relay so that there was a rapid decline in agricultural output. Nigeria became exclusively dependent on the oil sector for its revenues such as policies that were made were generally in favor of the oil sector.

This obviously leads to the neglect of the agricultural sector as all focus are on the oil sector. This research aims to determine the relationship between the oil sector and the agricultural sector, the impact of oil and the effects of exchange rates on the agricultural sector and to find ways to solve the problem, and make recommendations that can make positive changes.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Growing the economy has become the major objective of most government in the developing economies of the world. Over the years, these governments have adopted a number of measures aimed at accelerating growth and development in their domestic economy. The need to improve the living standard of the citizenry, reduce unemployment, increase capacity utilization which leads to increased productivity as well as increase in Foreign Exchange Earnings, etc has led to the introduction of vibrant economic policies in Nigeria and other developing nations of the world.

According to Azam (2009), the drift from trade restricted economy to trade liberalization is attributed to positive relationship that exists between export and economic growth. Bhagwati (1973) noted that for efficient utilization of available scarce resources and for expanding global trade volume, freer trade in goods and services is highly beneficial. And so, to enjoy the advantage of this free trade, Nigeria has adopted trade liberalization policy with a view to increase export of goods and services which increases capacity utilization as well as foreign exchange earnings. Economists often assert that trade liberalization improves social welfare and alleviates poverty, because it generates jobs opportunities, fosters economic growth and improves consumer choice and living standard of the societies.

Reacting to this, Fouad (2005) notes that exports of goods and services represent one of the most important sources of foreign exchange income that ease the pressure on the balance of payments and create employment opportunities, increase productivity and enhance the living standard of the citizenry. Exporting is associated with static gains that include access to larger outside markets, hence exploiting economies of scale. There are also dynamic gains that include efficiency advances as a result of knowledge and technological spillovers from exporting experience. Exporting is also associated with efficiency in resource allocation, employment generation, and relaxing the foreign exchange constraints (Bbaale and Mutenyo 2011).

The are several plausible theoretical arguments supporting the view that exporting activities and overall economic growth are positively associated. On the one hand, exporting implies that a country gains access to the wider external demand, which acts as a stimulus to domestic output and hence economic growth. Second, it is frequently argued that small domestic markets may not grow continuously and that any positive economic shock leading to the expansion of the domestic market is more likely to decay quickly. On the other hand, large external markets do not always encompass growth restrictions on the demand side, and this leads to the exploitation of economies of scale (Bbaale and Mutenyo, 2011). Therefore, export expansion can be argued to be a stimulus of economic growth (Agosin, 1999; Giles and Williams, 2000; Grossman and Helpman, 1991).

Additionally, Verdoorn (1949) dwells on the argument that export growth may generate specialization in the production of export commodities. By extension, specialization is argued to lead to efficiency gains in the export sector owing to the rise in skills due to learning-by-doing. Consequently, resources would flow from the relatively less productive and non-trade sector to the highly productive exports sector, leading to economic growth. On the same vein, Futher, Chenery and Strout (1966), Balassa (1978), Buffie, (1992) and Riezman (1996), dwell on an indirect argument linking exporting to economic growth. They argue that exporting activities generate foreign exchange that is required to import capital goods. Increase in capital goods imports in turn stimulate a country’s capacity to produce.

This is more pronounced in developing countries that have an extreme disadvantage in the production of capital goods. In the same line of argument, it is suggested that the most up-to-date knowledge and technology is embodied in the capital goods (plants and equipments) imported from technologically advanced countries. This knowledge transfer through international trade may increase productivity and, by extension, lead to economic growth and development (Hart, 1983 and Chuang, 1998).

Fluctuations in the price of oil have not only aid the disequilibrium of Nigeria’s BOP balance, as depicted in BOP deficit in periods of negative shocks (falling prices) in oil prices, and surplus in the face of positive shocks (rising prices) in the prices of oil, but also disrupting the balance in the external economy and internal economy. This is evident as fall in oil price is usually accompanied by disruption in the Nigeria’s exchange rate (Agri, Inusa & Kennedy, 2016; Isah, et al., 2015; Alhassan & Kilishi, 2016), this is because oil is the mainstream of Nigerian export basket, as it constitutes more than 90 percent of total export (CBN, 2017), hence the determinant for the demand for Nigeria’s currency. Oil price volatility is also responsible for determining the revenue and expenditure of the government since inflow from its export accounts for more than 50% revenue source of the federal government (CBN, 2017).

In addition, budgeting in Nigeria which is being hinged on expected price per barrel of crude oil is also affected with uncertainty in crude oil prices. Government being the largest spender in Nigeria’s economy, oil price volatility engenders instability and uncertainty in government capital and recurrent expenditure (Aigheyisi, 2018), this which have a multiplier effect on the economy. More often, rise in the price of oil is usually accompanied by increased government expenditure, coupled with enhanced budgetary performance, which translates to increase in both private consumption and investment. However, with decline in oil price, Nigeria is usually faced with decline in government expenditure and deficit budgeting, which tend to increase the government’s debt, occasionally matched with fall in private investment and consumption, and generally economic downturn (as in the case of recession experience in Nigeria in 2015 – 2017).

Evidently, most accessible studies regarding oil price volatility were either concerned with its impact on the economy (see Soundarapandiyan & Ganesh, 2017; Sartori, 2016; Qianqian, 2011), economic growth, exchange rate or other macro-economic factors (see Alhassan & Kilishi, 2016; Aigheyisi, 2018; Oyeyemi, 2013; Oghenebrume, 2018; Saddiqui, Jawad, Naz & Niazi, 2018; Makau, 2017; Ugwuanyi, 2011; Matthew & Adegboye, 2012; Hashimova, 2017; Umoru, Ohiomu & Akpeke, 2018; Broni-Bediako, Onyije & Unwene, 2018; Wu & Yu, 2017). Only few (see Rammadhan, 2000; Huntington, 2015; Elamin, 2016; Jawad, 2013) narrowly based their study on oil price volatility and Balance of Payments (BOP), even though they were unable to effectively and efficiently examine the subject matter appropriately. This is due to the use of inappropriate estimation technique (see Elamin, 2016; Jawad, 2013), absence of the test for the stationarity of data used (see Huntington, 2015; Elamin, 2016) and the negligence of important post-estimation diagnostics such as the test for autocorrelation, heteroscedasticity, stability, normality, etc (see Elamin, 2016; Jawad, 2013; Rammadhan, 2000), which would ascertain the plausibility of the model estimated.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is believed by most writers (Arnade et al., 1995; Fosu 1996; Thornton 1996; Wörz (2005)) that export of goods and services has a positive impact on the growth of the economy. This implies that growth in export will bring about growth in the economy. In other words, export drives the economy. This is what the classical school of thought regarded as export-led-growth hypothesis. Other writers (Lancaster, 1980; Krugman, 1984; Henriques and Sadorsky 1996; Al-Yousif 1999; Kemal et al., 2002) are of the opinion that it is economic growth that brings about increase in export of goods and services and not the other way round. This however is in line with growth-led-export hypothesis which believes that the growth in the economy will bring about knowledge and technological development in various sectors of the economy and will lead to increase in export of goods and services.
Meanwhile, many others believe that there is a feedback relationship between export and economic growth (Helpman and Krugman, 1985; Dutt and Ghosh, 1994; Thornton 1996; Shan and Sun 1998a; Anwar et al., 2000;).

They argue that exports may arise from the economies of scale effects of economic growth. At the same time, export expansion may propel further cost reductions leading to efficiency gains, and by extension, leading to economic growth. From the forgoing it is obvious that there is no conclusive evidence literature on how export affects the growth of an economy. On this note, one wonders as to the extent export have affected the growth of Nigerian economy as most of the literatures on this subject matter were very scanty in Nigeria. The problem now is, considering the fact that there is mixed finding among these variables, should one adopt a policy that will increase export in Nigeria or not since there is no agreement as to how export affects economic growth. This work seeks to provide solution to this problem by not only looking at the impact of export on the Nigerian economy but by taking a particular look at the contribution of different export component (oil and non-oil).

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this work is to determine the impact of export trading on the growth of the Nigerian economy.

The following specific objects were set out to be achieved:

  1. To determine the impact of oil export to the growth of Nigerian economy.
  2. To ascertain the level of impact that non-oil export has on the growth of Nigerian economy.
  3. What is the direction of causality between export (oil and non-oil) and economic growth in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were presented for this work and the answers to these questions will be provided at the end of this work. The answers that will be provided for these questions will enable us solve the above stated problem. The questions are as follows:

  1. How does oil-export affect the growth of Nigerian economy?
  2. How far has non-oil export impacted on the growth of the Nigerian economy?
  3. To what extent does causal relationship exists between (Oil and Non-oil) export and economic growth in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated for this study, they include:

  1. Oil export does not have a positive and significant impact on growth of the Nigerian economy.
  2. Non-oil export has not positively and significantly affected growth of the Nigerian economy.
  3. There is no causal relationship between export (oil and non-oil) and economic growth in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will cover the period 1987-2012, this time period was chose with the consideration of the fact that it was the period when Nigeria liberalized the economy. This period also witnessed boom in the oil sector of the Nigerian economy and so, we will be looking at this 25 years period to see how export of both oil and non-oil product have affected the growth of Nigerian economy. This period was considered long enough to` examine whether the increase witnessed in can be attributed to export.

1.7 Significance of the Study

This study will have a broad significance to both the policy makers and researchers as well.

To Policy Makers
  1. It will provide information on how oil export have contributed to the growth of Nigerian economy which will guide the policy makers in designing policies and programs that is needed to sustain economic growth.
  2. The contribution of non-oil export to the growth of Nigerian economy will be determined in this study and this will give policy makers information that will guide them in formulating polices that will encourage the non-oil export in Nigerian economy.
To Researchers
  1. This study will contribute to existing literature in this study area.
  2. It will provide information to other researchers carrying out research on this area.
To International Traders
  1. This study will provide the needed information that international traders might need to make the right decision on the active area of trade.
  2. It will provide information on their contribution to the growth of the economy. Showing them how relevant they are to the country. This will energize them to do more.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Research Findings

Findings emanating from this study are as following:

  1. Oil export has a positive and significant impact on the growth of Nigerian economy. This however implies that oil export contributes meaningfully to the overall growth of the Nigerian economy. These findings corroborated the findings of so many writers whose result shows that oil export is a driving force in the growth of Nigerian economy, among whom are Emeka et al (2012), Oluwasola et al (2012), Odusola and Akinlo(1995), Ekpo and Egwaikhide(1994) and Idowu(2005).
  2. Non-oil export has a positive and significant impact on the growth of Nigerian economy. This finding is contrary to both the growth-led-export hypothesis and that of the export-led-growth hypothesis which can be attributed to the neglect that non-oil export sector has witnessed in this country since the discovery of oil. Meanwhile it is on this background that Nigerian economy is regarded by many as a mono-economy. The high concentration of Nigerian government in oil sector with its unending flow of foreign exchange earnings has resulted to continuous overlook of the non-oil export.
  3. From the results of the Granger causality test, oil export does not Granger-cause Nigeria’s gross domestic product but gross domestic product Granger-causes oil export in Nigeria. Indicating unidirectional causality between the two variables. Also Non-oil export trading does not Granger-cause Nigeria’s gross domestic product and gross domestic product growth also does not Granger-cause the non-oil export trading in Nigeria for the period under review indicating no causality between the two variables.

5.2 Conclusion

This study, as one of the empirical investigations on the impact of oil and agricultural sector on BOP in Nigeria has provided a good understanding of the level of impact that export has on the growth of Nigeria’s economy with particular reference to oil and non-oil export. The study covered the period of 1987 to 2012 and time series data obtained from CBN were used. The econometrics tools used in this study include; Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Granger Causality test which were used to determine the level of impact that one variable has on the other as well as the direction of causality between them. The result arising from our findings indicates that oil export positively and significantly impacted on the growth of Nigeria’s economy for the period under review. It was also shown in the result that non-oil export has a positive and significant impact on GDP. The result of the granger causality test indicates that there is unidirectional causality between oil export and GDP,. This finding is in line with that of Odusola and Akinlo(1995), Ekpo and Egwaikhide(1994) and Idowu(2005) who used the traditional Granger causality test in examining whether the growth- led-export hypothesis is valid for Nigeria. The results of the study indicated that a unidirectional relationship between exports and economic growth exists in Nigeria. Based on this, we conclude that growth-led-export hypothesis is applicable in the Nigeria context with particular reference to oil export. Therefore to improve the living standard of the populace emphasis should not be directed only to the export sector of the economy but should be far reaching as the growth in the economy also has the potential to drive the export sector of the economy.

5.3 Recommendations

The following recommendations are made in respect of the findings from the study:

  1. The oil sector should be reorganized and adequately empowered to enable it have far reaching impact on economic growth in Nigeria. This should be done in such a way that it will not affect the non-oil sector of the economy.
  2. The government should take urgent steps to sufficiently boost the non-oil sector in Nigeria so that it will impact more tremendously on economic growth in the country.
  3. A major component of the non-oil sector is the agricultural sub-sector. The government should specifically devise effective and efficient measures to revitalize this sub-sector and make itto perform optimally and be highly lucrative as it has the capacity to create more employment as well as increase the volume of foreign exchange earnings to Nigeria than any other sector.
  4. The government should take adequate measures to ensure that the Nigerian economy continues to grow at a very high rate on consistent basis. As this is a major way to guarantee tremendous improvement in the standard living of Nigerians. Also both vertical and horizontal diversification of export should be adopted by the government so as to take advantage of all the benefit that comes with export trading.

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