Politics of Economic Reforms in Nigeria: A Comparative Analysis of the Needs and Sap

Politics of Economic Reforms in Nigeria: A Comparative Analysis of the Needs and Sap.


Since the declaration of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the country has witnessed series of upheavals. This has to do with political and economic destabilization. Hence, our leaders have tried chains of economic policies or reforms that are hoped to place the country on a sound footing.

As a result structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was adopted under General Ibrahim Babanigida’s Military administration in 1986, but could not yield the desired result. Nigeria in a bid to find a lasting solution to her economic predicament, implemented National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) under president Olusegun Obasanjo’s democratic rule.

NEEDS as a medium terms planning strategy was a blue print for new order. It contains all the envisaged policies and  programmes of the federal government for the period 2003-2007 and far beyond and serves as the fountain of the much touted Obasanjo reforms.

NEEDS is not only a macroeconomic plan document, but also a comprehensive vision, goals and principles of a new Nigeria that would be made possible through four key policies of wealth creation, employment generation, poverty eradication and value reorientation.

Using evidence from political and economic variables, this study examines the politics of Economic reforms in Nigeria, analyzing NEEDS and SAP. To that extent, this study gears towards actualizing three outstanding objectives which include: to ascertain if there is any fundamental relationship between the NEEDS and SAP as economic reform strategies; to find out if there is any prospect that NEED will succeed in Nigeria where SAP had failed.


The growing appeal for economic reforms the world over is not unconnected with the ideology of neo-classical economists, who desire reduced government intervention in the economy, and believe in the superior economic performance of the private sector (Kumssa, 2000).

According to the neo-classical economists, a free market economy without state intervention will lead to economic prosperity that would likely “trickle down” to the poorest members of the society. Hence, government intervention in the economy is considered necessary to place the country on a sound footing.

As a result, the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was adopted under the General Ibrahim Babangida regime in 1986, sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, but still did not yield much fruit. As it is, Nigeria is in a very serious economic crisis in which a National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) came to the rescue under President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, in this research work we are going to unfold the strategy adopted, which has the overreaching goal of achieving sustainable poverty reduction by the enhancement of human capacities and livelihoods, through a broad based wealth creation and empowerment operation.


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CSN Team.

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