• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Farmer versus hunter approach: An economic example of Nigeria

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Most issues and challenges in life require unique and peculiar approaches in addressing them. Managing certain problems involve a multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted approach in finding lasting and sustainable solutions to these challenges. The contingency theory of management states that there is no best way to manage, the best approach to manage depends on the situation. This will give us good insight into the Nigerian example. A hunter and farmer approach will be used to describe the economic situation of Nigeria from the analysis of savings and consumption patterns of our economic managers.

A very unique feature of a farmer is the ability to prepare for a planting season, plant and be patient to harvest based on the quality of its seed in due season. A farmer with poor seed will reap sparingly, while one with good seed will reap bountifully, even the holy bible affirms this assertion. No planting would imply no harvest. A farmer is also known to leave its best seed for the next planting season. A farmer does not consume all of its proceeds or harvest but is conscious of planning to get more farm yields. The seed from the analogy above can be likened to investment, while harvesting season can best be described as a period of economic result and impact. Nigeria since its transition from military to democracy in 1999 has been characterized by poor saving habits from the central government to the 36 states of the federation and FCT. The period of the oil boom in the 1970s gave rise to economic disorder, fiscal indiscipline and financial recklessness of leaders in Nigeria. The boom presented a perfect opportunity for future savings, investment in the real sector and human capital. In contrast to this, more money meant more expense and recklessness. There was little or no plan for the future. Other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, trade and tourism suffered great loss and nearly went into extinction. The approach of a farmer who should consume but leave some proceeds for the next investment season was never an option but rather a season of exchanging short-term benefits for long-term economic suffering. This was a sad example of Nigeria. Poor saving culture occasioned by high fiscal spending with no desire for future plans.

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Hunters are known to be very strategic and precise, if the hunting exercise must produce the desired result. The end result is to consume whatever was gotten. On a fruitful day, there is lots of meat to be consumed. On a day where there was nothing caught, hunger and starvation are the resultant effect. This implies that there are fluctuations and uncertainty in the life of a hunter, no matter how good he or she might be. Nigeria, with a heavy dependence on import from outside its borders, with a productive labour force of 62 million people according to World Bank 2020 statistics out of a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria can be strongly regarded as a consuming and less productive economy. The economic fluctuation and uncertainty of Nigeria’s major export, crude oil, implies that the revenue generating ability of Nigeria can be likened to the ordeal of a hunter. A period of oil boom should stir the penchant for proper planning to fill the gap in a season of economic drought. Nigeria’s foreign reserves have depleted greatly. The excess crude account that was meant to encourage savings from extra revenue gotten when crude oil is sold above the budget benchmark is nearly empty. Savings that are meant for investment to achieve economic growth and improve the economy is only imaginary. It is obvious the hunter approach is the hallmark of present and successive administrations in Nigeria. This is an unsustainable and miserable economic model that has plunged Nigeria into huge debts, poverty and full-blown corruption.

This narrative and self-inflicted financial mismanagement must be put to a halt. This would require a strong political will and action to quickly galvanize support from economic experts to adopt an economic and budget structure or model that would increase revenue generation, plan on viable infrastructure needs and areas of investment to save the present and future generation of Nigerians. The failure to plan in the past is what we suffer today as a nation. The failure to plan for the future today would worsen the economic state of Nigerians in the future. The culture of consuming with no plan for savings to grow the economy should be discouraged. There should be more budget surplus than deficit to ensure that savings remain a key component of Nigeria’s economic transformation. The hunter approach must be ditched for the transformative and sustainable farmer approach that has foresight for now and the future.