It could be tough to exaggerate the function of oil within the Nigerian economy. Since the primary oil price shock in 1974, oil has annually produced over ninety percent of Nigeria’s export earnings. In 2000 Nigeria acquired 99.6 p.c of its export earnings from oil, making it the world’s most oil-dependent nation.
Oil production has additionally had a profound effect on Nigeria’s home sector. One method to characterize its impact is by trying at the rents produced by oil – that is, the returns in excess of manufacturing prices – within the Nigerian economic system. From 1970 to 1999, oil generated nearly $231 billion in rents for the Nigerian economic system, in constant 1999 dollars. Since 1974, these rents have constituted between 21 and forty eight p.c of GDP.
But remarkably, these rents have failed to raise Nigerian incomes and finished little to reduce poverty. Since 1970, Nigeria’s per capital earnings has fallen by about 4 percent, in constant dollars. Though Nigerian poverty rates have by no means been nicely-measured, there may be little indication that they’ve declined over the past three decades.
This lack of enchancment is putting, given the dimensions of Nigeria’s oil windfall. Had annually’s oil rents been invested in a fund that yielded just five percent actual interests, at the tip of 1999 the fund can be value $454 billion. If divided among the general inhabitants, each man, woman, and little one would obtain about $3,750, equal to about 15 years of wages.
Oil has also had a deep influence on the Nigerian authorities. For the reason that early 1970s, the Nigerian government has annually obtained over half of its revenues – typically as a lot as 85 % – straight from the oil sector. These oil revenues aren’t solely giant, they’re additionally highly unstable – that is, they will fluctuate drastically in size from yr to year, inflicting the dimensions of government, and the funding of government programs, to fluctuate accordingly. For example, from 1972 to 1975, authorities spending rose from 8.4 percent to 22.6 percent of GDP; by 1978, it dropped back to 14.2 % of the financial system.
Few governments are capable of cope with this sort of volatility, and it is not shocking – in retrospect – that the Nigerian government was unable to adhere to smart fiscal policies throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when oil prices fluctuated sharply. The decentralization of the Nigerian government made sound income administration even more difficult, since a lot of the oil revenue has been robotically handed on from the federal government to the state and native governments. The flexibility of those governments to spend their funds wisely, and limit corruption, has been low.
Nigeria’s oil wealth has additionally led to social and political unrest, notably in the Niger Delta. The Igbo effort to secede from Nigeria, which led to the 1967-70 civil wars, was deeply rooted in ethnic tensions and Nigeria’s colonial past; but the rebellion was inspired by the presence of oil, and hence the assumption that independence can be economically beneficial for the Igbo individuals. Similarly, the unrest among the Ogoni and Ijaw peoples in the Niger Delta can in part be traced to their desire to win a bigger share of the area’s financial wealth.
If Nigeria’s petroleum were quickly depleted, these problems would possibly eventually recede into the past. But there’s each purpose to suppose that over the next a number of a long time, Nigeria’s dependence on petroleum exports will stay exceptionally excessive; it could even grow. Estimates of Nigeria’s proven oil reserves range from 24 billion to 31.5 billion barrels [EIA 2003]; at the current production charge of two million barrels a day, these reserves alone would last between 32 and heat exchanger mass production 43 years. Nigeria also has an estimated 124 trillion cubic ft of confirmed natural fuel reserves, the ninth largest such reserve on this planet; it’s quickly growing its capability to liquefy and export this gasoline, which can additional raise petroleum revenues.
International demand for Nigeria’s energy provides will virtually definitely stay robust. World energy demand is projected to rise more than 50 p.c over the subsequent two many years; demand for natural gas is anticipated to rise especially fast [CSIS 2000]. The prime quality of Nigeria’s oil, and Nigeria’s location exterior the volatile Persian Gulf, recommend that global demand for Nigerian oil and gas will stay excessive over the subsequent several many years. While this is good for the Nigerian petroleum sector, it poses main problems for the financial system and the government.
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