Indigenisation in Nigeria, 1972-1983 Resources and Income Re-Distribution

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Onuoha, B.O
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University of Lagos
A major economic policy of the first military regime in Nigeria. 1966-79, was the indigenisation of the national economy. The aim was to put Nigerians, to a greater extent, in control of the economy of the nation. The history of the nation's indigenisation policy, close to policy filtration by the colonial master's, was broached in 1946, and again in 1956. In 1964, under a post-colonial government, the policy was mooted, but a concrete formulation, perhaps delayed because of the political upheavals of 1966-70, was only adopted in 1972. The implementation of the policy in the different schedules, was to commence in 1974. In 1977, the same Military, this time General Obasanjo's Government, promulgated another indigenisation decree which amended that of 1972, and re-organised the items to be indigenised from two to three schedules. According to the new decree, 1978 was the appointed date for effective Nigerian part or full ownership and control in respect of the three-schedule arrangement. Like most African economies under the stress of transition, the indigenisation policy since then has come under different criticisms and reviews. Hence in 1982, the civilian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari introduced yet another amendment which affected the agricultural sector of the economy. These re-schedules and amendments were not only to bring more effect, but also to enlarge the scope of the policy. This thesis is an analysis of that very large re-distribution exercise of Nigeria's resource (wealth) and income occasioned by the policy: who benefited from that exercise, either in terms of spatial consideration (regional spread) or individual group re-distribution, and more importantly what are the socio-political consequences? These configurations were investigated in sectors/sub-sectors of the economy: oil, manufacturing industry (land, trade and commerce) and commercial Banking. The thesis shows that the indigenisation of, and resources and income redistribution in these sectors most likely represent the kind of expropriation, accumulation and concentration of capital evident in the entire economy. The research suggests that the most compelling factors responsible for the contradictions arising from indigenisation, took their roots from the capitalist economy operated in Nigeria and the emergent classes and their struggle which attended the capitalist economy, and most crucially the existence of a subordinate capitalist state in which the struggles were being resolved. Also it is argued that the very nature and scope of the policy demonstrated that the ruling class by that policy legitimized the capitalist mode of production and its ethos to which they (the policy makers) were part; and both capitalism and its ethos were in sharp contrast with the state objective regarding indigenisation. While it appears that a large ownership of enterprises have shifted to the parasitic national bourgeoisie, indications are that the control of the economy by 1983 was not Nigerian. Furthermore, and perhaps more frustrating was the re-distribution of wealth and income and the creation of egalitarianism, a primary objective of the policy, had become far-between. Rather than equity and egalitarianism, the economic measures of government excerbated the social deprivations of the underprivileged thereby widened the gap between the social classes. The findings of the thesis will suggest more research interest in the study of property ownership and political control, if a more meaningful re-distribution of resources and income were to be made. This necessarily will advocate a fundamental restructuring of the socio-economic system, moving away from the capitalist mode of production and distribution inherited at independence, to the socialization of the productive forces.
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Indigenisation , Economic Policy , Resources , Income Re-Distribution
Onuoha,B.O (1988) Indigenisation in Nigeria, 1972-1983 Resources and Income Re-Distribution University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation Abstracts