Polithinks: Structural Consequences of Uneven Distribution of Resources
In terms of spatial arrangement of resources, there is no part of Nigeria that is not favoured, however, despite these resources scattered across the different parts of the country, Nigeria…
●26th January 2023
The productive capacity of people, organizations and governments depend on the availability of resources. These resources include those found on land, in the air, and on the sea. Resource distribution refers to the geographic occurrence or spatial arrangement of resources on earth. In other words, where resources are located. Any particular place may be rich in the resources people desire and poor in others.
In terms of spatial arrangement of resources, there is no part of Nigeria that is not favoured. To see a list of states in Nigeria and the natural resource they are known for, click here. The list shows that in terms of spatial distribution of resources, no single state/region in Nigeria is not necessarily disadvantaged. Despite these resources scattered across the different parts of the country, Nigeria is still structurally deficient. One of this deficiency is in terms of the source of Nigeria’s main foreign exchange earner – crude oil.
The oil sector provides Nigeria with about 95% of its foreign exchange. This kind of lopsidedness in terms of foreign exchange earnings puts a lot of pressure on the oil sector, and on the places where crude oil is located. It has been documented in many places that while the country has benefited immensely in terms of foreign exchange earnings from the abundance of crude oil, the Niger-Delta where this oil is found has suffered tremendously in terms of environmental degradation. One example of this environmental degradation is in oil spillage, where the region experiences 40 million liters of oil spillage yearly.
Besides making the structure of Nigeria’s foreign earnings dysfunctional, the over-reliance on crude oil has also shaped the kind of federalism being practiced in the country – such that it allows the central government control resources obtained from the federating units. The Federal Government keeps 52.68% of revenues, and returns 26.72% and 20.60% to states and Local Governments respectively.
Curiously enough, we cannot blame a deficiency in the structure of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earner on the abundance of one particular resource when, as has been presented here, there is a healthy spatial distribution of natural resources across the country, with equal potential for large foreign exchange earnings. Yet, the structural defect in the country may be found in the uneven distribution of another resource – the human capital.
The human capital is the human being who has been transformed beyond just a human being to a human resource, capable of being productive, through the right education, and other important factors. The distribution of humans as capital across Nigeria may not be even, hence the structural issues.
Southern Nigeria is the most prosperous part of the country. It has eight of the top ten largest states by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is not surprising given that ten of the ten most developed states by Human Development Index are all states from the south. This development has left many states in the country, especially in the north, reeling from socio-economic crisis, some of which have threatened the very existence of the country.
The structural defect that has been highlighted in terms of foreign exchange earnings and the consequences that have followed it can be remedied if more efforts are given to the exploration of other spatially distributed natural resources and not just crude oil. Additionally, the structural defect in the distribution of the human resource can be corrected if more states in the country, especially in the northern part can pay more attention to adding value to human beings with the aim of transforming them into human resources, capable of being productive.