Publisher: University of Calabar

Can Nigeria Do Without The International Monetary Fund (IMF)?

J. R. Bassey
KEYWORDS: Corruption, Accountability, Sovereignty, Mismanagement, Economy


In March 2002, Nigeria suspended the International Monetary Fund Programmes. This paper highlights reasons for the severance of links with the Bretton Woods Institution. The paper also critically analyses reasons why Nigeria turned volte-face and went back to the IMF almost immediately, without implementing the home-grown economic framework, which was designed as an alternative to the IMF monitored programmes. It is the contention of the paper that corruption, mismanagement and wasteful spending by the Nigerian government, were the issues that the IMF was complaining about. Government position was that it suspended the IMF Programmes because it (government) wanted to assert its economic sovereignty, and that it could not continue with the IMF programmes because of the latter's narrow focus on macro economic indicators. Government also argued that the IMF economic package did not take proper account of the well-being of the Nigerian people. Arguably, Nigeria announced its return to the IMF barely three months, after the stand off because the international community, particularly the G-8 began to isolate the country. Nigeria stood the chance of being disqualified for foreign aids, negotiating for new loans, attracting foreign investors, or gain credibility in the comity of nations, if she had continued to severe relations with the IMF. The paper concludes that Nigeria went back to the IMF because of certain national and international economic and political circumstances, which made the policy makers believed that the country could not do without the IMF: However, given strong leadership that makes accountability its watchword, practices the rules of law, and uses internal experts, Nigeria can manage its economy without the IMF, just like many other countries have done without the institution.

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