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The agriculture sector was the focus of intense development interest during the 1990s, with food self-sufficiency the goal. In 1990, agriculture was the subject of a separate three-year development plan involving public and private spending targets concentrating on the family farmer. The program included price stabilization plans and schemes to revitalize the palm oil, cocoa, and rubber subsectors. The Agricultural Development Projects continued through the decade, but implementation of goals was difficult. The country still imports most of its wheat from the United States.
An integrated petrochemical industry was also a priority. Using the output of the nation’s refineries, Nigeria produced benzene, carbon black, and polypropylene. The development of liquid natural gas facilities was expected to lead to the production of methanol, fertilizer, and domestic gas. Nigeria’s refineries operated at less than optimal rates throughout the 1990s.
In the manufacturing sector, the government was backing a policy of local sourcing whereby locally produced raw materials were converted into finished products. By 1999, manufacturing accounted for less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).
By the beginning of the 2000s, the government was more concerned about halting corruption and reigning in the state budget than economic development. Nevertheless, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was created to coordinate economic and social development in the oil-producing region.
Nigeria’s foreign debt stood at around $28.5 billion in 2001, a large portion of which was interest and payment arrears. The Obasanjo administration in the early 2000s was supporting private-sector-led, market-oriented economic growth, and had begun economic reform programs. Privatization of state-owned enterprises continued. A Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approved in 2000, lapsed in 2001 as the government’s economic reform program went off track. There were indications a new IMF program for the country would be negotiated in 2003–04.
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