As a policy objective, the attainment of food security in Nigeria began facing challenges prior to independence when oil exportation began in 1958. But the challenges became pronounced and persistent after the commencement of large-scale oil exports in the early 1970s, when the country nearly abandoned agriculture in pursuit of newfound oil wealth. Self-sufficiency in food production and agricultural export earnings, aided by widespread cultivation of food crops and regional specialisation in cash crops – the cocoa mountains in the west, the oil palm and kernel heaps in the east, and groundnut pyramids in the north – began to diminish and disappear respectively. Within a few years after independence in 1960, the agricultural sector transitioned from a net foreign exchange earner to net foreign exchange drain.
This Paper examines the response of the Nigerian government to the ongoing recession in the domestic economy, particularly in the context of the recently released Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017-2020. It also provides an analysis of key questions regarding the suitability, achievability, and prospect of the ERGP. The second section of the brief runs through the state of the Nigerian economy with a focus on the cause and drivers of the ongoing recession. The third section reviews the objectives, implementation strategy, and expected outcomes of the ERGP over the medium-term. The fourth section weighs on the potentials of the ERGP by analyzing some pertinent questions: Is the proposed recovery plan and policies well-targeted to address prevailing economic crises in Nigerian economy?
Recently released population estimate figures by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, show a significant increase in Nigerias population, based on the 2006 census. Notably, total population grew by an estimated 40 percent from 2006, to 193 million persons in 2016. Also, disaggregate demographic data from 2007 to 2016, reveals an increase in the number of males (74 million to 99 million) and females (71 million to 95 million), with a 2016 gender (males to females) percentage ratio of 51:49. The high rate of population growth can be attributed to the improvements in average annual rate of natural increase the difference between crude birth rate and death rate. As in preceding years, the composition of children and youths make up the highest share of the population growth. This presents a potential increase in the rate of labour supply. Going forward, there is need for the government to support rapid job creation in order to check the potential upsurge in unemployment rate.