Privatization And Foreign Investments In Nigeriaby Lawrence Okechukwu Azubuike
Nigeria's political economy has straddled the ideological divide between socialism and capitalism. The country produces oil, and at some point in its existence, it embarked on robust state involvement in the economy. This was marked by the acquisition, or establishment, of numerous state enterprises. Over the years, the performance of these enterprises was found to be dismal, and as part of the overall reform of the economy, Nigeria has joined the global trend toward reduction in direct state ownership of enterprises. Indeed, it has embarked on massive divestment of state interests in once publicly owned firms. Besides the universal rationale of efficiency, one of the objectives of the privatization exercise in Nigeria is the attraction and retention of foreign investments. This work examines the direct and indirect linkage between the government's divestiture of its interests in firms, on the one hand, and foreign investments in the country, on the other hand.
The book is divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1 reviews the political and economic history of Nigeria, to set the background and context that necessitated the introduction of the reform package of which privatization is just an aspect. Chapter 2 is a discussion of various natures of state involvement in an economy. This ranges from mere regulation to active participation. The chapter discusses the competing conceptual and ideological theories and tries to situate the Nigerian experience within the broader conceptual dichotomies of capitalism, socialism and the via media of mixed economy. Chapter 3 is an examination of the meaning and rationales for privatization of state owned enterprises generally and the Nigerian attempts in particular. Nigeria's privatization program is an ongoing exercise. Yet two distinct attempts are identifiable: one which started in 1988 and the reinvigoration of the exercise, albeit with new constitutive frameworks, in 1999. Thus, Chapters 4 and 5 review the legal and institutional frameworks for these two exercises. Chapter 6 deals with foreign investments in Nigeria. The discussion encapsulates the pros and cons of foreign investments, especially in Nigeria. Chapter 7 explores the direct and indirect linkages between the privatization program in Nigeria and foreign investments in the country. This is particularly apposite because one of the touted objectives of the privatization exercise is the attraction of foreign investments. A conclusion follows. The work finds that although foreign investments appear to have been indirectly boosted by the privatization exercise, foreign investors initially did not show interest in direct acquisition of the shares and other interests being relinquished by the government, but that that attitude has been changing gradually.
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