Country Focus Data: Nigeria

by Mindy Dake
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Located in western Africa, the Federal Republic of Nigeria officially moved its capital to Abuja from Lagos in 1991.
Demography: Population 101.2 million (July 1995), 30% urban; English language (official); Muslim (50%) and Christian (40%) religions.
Geography: Equatorial climate in south, tropical center, arid north; southern lowlands, central hills, plains north; bordered by Atlantic Ocean, Benin, Cameroon and Niger.
Government: Military since December 1983. Chief of state and head of government is General Sani Abacha.
Official agricultural agencies: Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Economy: Nigeria is the world's sixth largest oil producer, and oil accounts for 75% of government revenues.
Economic performance during the past 20 years has been uneven, fluctuating with oil prices and political developments. The oil boom of the 1970s and massive public spending created prosperity, but growth was not sustained when oil prices later collapsed. The government then enacted economic reforms, including liberalization of trade and private investment restrictions, easing of regulations and a privatization and commercialization program for the public sector. The economy, which had posted negative economic growth in the early 1980s, rebounded to post an 8.5% increase in gross domestic product in 1991.
Political changes in 1993 brought a return to more government intervention in the economy. Fixed interest and exchange rates led to soaring inflation — 100% in 1994 — currency depreciation, growing debt, recession and income erosion. Disinvestment by multinationals, continued political and labor strife and potential sanctions also have hurt economic growth in recent years.
Agriculture accounts for 35% of gross domestic product and 54% of the work force
G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$1,250 (1994 estimate); growth rate: -0.8% (1994).
Currency: Naira. Fixed rate (oil and government sectors): 22 naira per U.S. dollar; market rate: about 80 naira per U.S. dollar.
Exports: U.S.$11.9 billion (f.o.b. 1992), of which oil accounted for 95%; primary partners, E.U., U.S.
Imports: U.S.$8.3 billion (c.i.f. 1992), machinery, manufactured goods, food; primary partners, E.U., U.S.
Major agricultural crops/products: Cocoa, rubber, sorghum, millet, maize, rice.
Wheat: Nigeria's wheat production is minimal, averaging 52,000 tonnes annually in the past five years. Use in the same period averaged 756,000 tonnes.
Beginning in 1987, the government banned all wheat imports, a restriction that persisted until 1993. Consequently, wheat use fell from a peak of 1.8 million tonnes in 1984 to 300,000 tonnes in 1988.
The ban was officially lifted in 1993. Although foreign exchange shortages have since limited Nigerian millers' ability to buy wheat, imports gradually have increased and stood at 850,000 tonnes in 1995-96.
Coarse grains: Nigeria produced an average of 14.4 million tonnes of coarse grains in 1990-96, with consumption posting the same average. Nearly all coarse grain is for human consumption. Maize imports, which were banned in 1983, remain illegal.
Rice: Five-year production has averaged about 2.7 million tonnes, with use averaging about 3 million. Rice imports were banned from 1985 to 1994.
Oilseeds: Although Nigeria has the potential for self-sufficiency, domestic supplies fall short of demand by about 400,000 tonnes a year. Low-yielding wild palms predominate, and government involvement in large estates hampers efficiency.
Transportation: Railroads, 3,567 km, mostly 1.067-meter gauge; 107,990 km of highways, with 30,019 km; major ports are Port Harcourt, Lagos, Calabar.