Economics Project Topics

Oil Dependency and Economic Diversification; A Case Study of Buhari Administration, 2015-2023

Oil Dependency and Economic Diversification; A Case Study of Buhari Administration, 2015-2023

Oil Dependency and Economic Diversification; A Case Study of Buhari Administration, 2015-2023

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

  1. To evaluate the policies and strategies implemented by the Buhari administration between 2015 and 2023 to reduce oil dependency.
  2. To assess the impact of these policies on economic diversification across various sectors.
  3. To analyze the challenges encountered and lessons learned during the efforts to diversify the Nigerian economy.



Conceptual Review

Oil Dependency in National Economies

Oil dependency in national economies is a critical phenomenon that profoundly shapes a country’s economic landscape. Aiyar’s work (2016) defines oil dependency as a situation where a substantial portion of a nation’s revenue is derived from oil exports. This reliance on oil revenues exposes the economy to the volatility of the global oil market, creating a vulnerability that has far-reaching implications (Aiyar, 2016; Cherif, 2021).

The implications of oil dependency are multi-faceted, impacting various facets of a nation’s economic structure. One primary consequence is the susceptibility of the economy to fluctuations in global oil prices. As highlighted by Cherif (2021), the global oil market is inherently volatile, subject to geopolitical tensions, market speculation, and natural disasters, among other factors. Consequently, nations heavily reliant on oil revenues experience revenue volatility, affecting their fiscal stability and capacity for effective economic planning (Cherif, 2021; IMF, 2019).

Economic challenges associated with heavy reliance on oil extend beyond revenue volatility. The ‘resource curse,’ a phenomenon where countries rich in natural resources experience slower economic growth and development, is a pertinent implication (Ross, 2022). Despite the apparent wealth from oil exports, the over-dependence on this single resource often leads to a neglect of other sectors. This neglect can result in a lack of diversification, hindering the development of alternative sources of income (Ross, 2022; Sala-i-Martin & Subramanian, 2021).

Furthermore, the volatility in oil prices directly impacts government revenues, leading to budgetary challenges and fiscal deficits. In times of falling oil prices, governments may struggle to meet their financial obligations, impacting public services and infrastructure development (Cherif, 2021; IMF, 2019). This situation was evident in Nigeria during the period under study, where the government faced budgetary constraints due to the decline in oil prices (Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, 2017).

Economic Diversification Strategies

The pursuit of economic diversification strategies globally has been shaped by the imperative to reduce reliance on a single revenue source and foster sustainable and resilient economies. Examining various strategies employed globally provides valuable insights into the multifaceted approaches nations have adopted to diversify their economies (Bughin et al., 2016; Cherif et al., 2016).

One prominent strategy involves a deliberate shift toward developing non-oil sectors. Countries with a history of heavy oil dependence have sought to promote sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services to create a more balanced economic portfolio (Bughin et al., 2016; Felipe et al., 2021). This strategy aims to mitigate the risks associated with dependence on a single commodity, thereby fostering economic stability and long-term growth.

Policy interventions play a central role in driving economic diversification. Governments implement a range of policies aimed at incentivizing investments in non-oil sectors, fostering innovation, and creating an environment conducive to private-sector growth (Cherif et al., 2016; Tornell & Lane, 2019). Tax incentives, subsidies, and regulatory reforms are often leveraged to encourage diversification and attract investments in industries beyond the dominant oil sector.





The methodology employed in this research aims to provide a robust framework for investigating the impact of economic diversification policies during the Buhari administration (2015-2023) in Nigeria. The chosen research design, data collection methods, and analytical tools were carefully selected to ensure the study’s validity, reliability, and ethical considerations.

 Research Design

The research design chosen for this study was primarily quantitative, employing a survey approach to collect data from a diverse sample of participants. The decision to utilize a quantitative survey design was motivated by the necessity for statistical analysis to extract meaningful insights into the economic diversification initiatives and their outcomes (Saunders et al., 2019).

Quantitative research involves the systematic collection and interpretation of numerical data, providing a structured and measurable way to understand complex phenomena (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). A survey design aligns with this approach, allowing for the collection of a large volume of data from a broad spectrum of respondents. This breadth of data is crucial for achieving a comprehensive understanding of the varied perspectives on economic diversification policies within the given timeframe.

Moreover, a survey design facilitates statistical analysis, enabling the researcher to identify patterns and trends within the dataset. As noted by Saunders et al. (2019), statistical tools are instrumental in uncovering relationships between variables and drawing reliable conclusions. In the context of this study, statistical analysis is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of economic diversification initiatives, discerning correlations, and drawing evidence-based conclusions regarding the impact of these policies on Nigeria’s economy.

Population of the Study

The target population for this research encompassed individuals directly or indirectly impacted by the economic policies implemented during the Buhari administration. The decision to select a population of 1200 respondents was grounded in the aspiration to acquire a representative and comprehensive view of the diverse perspectives within Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape. This aligns with the recommendation of Anderson et al. (2020), who advocate for a larger sample size to enhance the generalizability of findings and contribute to the overall validity of the study.

A larger sample size ensures a more robust representation of the population, increasing the likelihood that the findings can be applied to the broader context of Nigeria’s economic scenario during the specified period. According to Anderson et al. (2020), a larger sample size enhances the statistical power of the study, allowing for more reliable and valid inferences. In the context of this research, a sample size of 1200 respondents provides a diverse and inclusive perspective, accommodating variations in experiences, opinions, and impacts of economic policies.



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The study’s findings paint a comprehensive picture of Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts during the Buhari administration, offering multifaceted insights from various perspectives.

Firstly, the survey revealed a prevailing sentiment among respondents regarding the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing Nigeria’s oil dependency. A substantial majority agreed that these initiatives were crucial and effective, laying a foundation for a shift away from oil-centric economic strategies. Moreover, these policies were perceived as promoting investment in non-oil sectors, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing, garnering substantial support from the respondents.

However, challenges were evident in the implementation of these diversification policies. Issues related to funding, technological innovation, and infrastructure constraints emerged as significant hurdles. Despite the acknowledged importance of policies, the challenges surrounding their execution were notable, suggesting a need for more robust implementation strategies and resource allocation to overcome these obstacles effectively.

The study also highlighted the perceived positive impact of these policies on the growth of non-oil sectors and job creation within these industries. Respondents generally agreed that the diversification policies had a tangible effect on expanding these sectors and generating employment opportunities. Still, concerns about infrastructure challenges hindering growth and doubts about the policies’ direct contribution to sustainable development were notable.

Challenges extended beyond logistical and financial aspects, encompassing stakeholder resistance and hurdles in addressing infrastructure deficits. Stakeholder resistance, specifically to change, emerged as a substantial barrier, underlining the complexity of aligning diverse interests and perspectives in economic transformation initiatives. Moreover, uncertainties prevailed concerning the policies’ abilities to address infrastructure gaps adequately.

Overall, the findings suggest a recognition of the Buhari administration’s initiatives to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from oil dependence. While respondents largely supported these policies, challenges in implementation and concerns about their holistic impact were evident. The study underscores the importance of addressing financial constraints, enhancing infrastructure, navigating stakeholder dynamics, and refining policy implementation strategies for sustainable and impactful economic diversification.

These insights provide a robust foundation for policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers to reevaluate and fine-tune economic diversification strategies. Addressing the identified challenges and leveraging the perceived strengths of these policies could foster more effective and sustainable economic transformation in Nigeria, ultimately contributing to the nation’s overall socio-economic development.


In conclusion, the results of the hypotheses testing provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and impact of the economic diversification policies implemented by the Buhari administration in Nigeria. The findings reveal a generally positive perception among respondents regarding the policies’ effectiveness in reducing oil dependency, promoting investment in non-oil sectors, and encouraging technological innovation. The statistically significant mean values obtained from the one-sample t-test indicate a favourable sentiment toward these initiatives.

Despite this positive outlook, the study also brings attention to challenges and uncertainties associated with policy implementation, particularly in addressing infrastructure gaps and overcoming stakeholder resistance. These nuanced findings emphasize the need for a holistic and adaptive approach to economic diversification, taking into account the intricate interplay of various factors.

In light of these results, policymakers and stakeholders must consider the identified challenges seriously. Strategic interventions, robust implementation plans, and effective allocation of resources are essential to address the hurdles hindering the full realization of the intended outcomes. The study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by shedding light on both the strengths and weaknesses of economic diversification policies, providing a foundation for future research and policy adjustments. Ultimately, the success of Nigeria’s economic diversification journey hinges on a dynamic and responsive approach that considers the multifaceted nature of the challenges and opportunities at hand.


The following recommendations were proposed for this study:

  1. Enhance Policy Implementation: Based on the findings, it is recommended that the Nigerian government focus on strengthening the implementation of economic diversification policies. This could involve streamlining bureaucratic processes, ensuring efficient resource allocation, and establishing clear accountability mechanisms to address the challenges highlighted in the study.
  2. Invest in Infrastructure Development: To overcome challenges related to infrastructure hindrances, there is a need for targeted investments in infrastructure development. This includes improving transportation networks, energy supply, and technology infrastructure to create an environment conducive to the growth of non-oil sectors.
  3. Promote Stakeholder Engagement and Education: Addressing stakeholder resistance requires proactive engagement and education initiatives. Policymakers should collaborate with industry stakeholders, local communities, and businesses to create awareness, build consensus, and ensure a smoother transition to diversified economic activities.
  4. Sustain Investment in Technology and Innovation: The positive perception of the policies encouraging technological innovation suggests a need for sustained investment in research, development, and innovation. Supporting industries with incentives for adopting new technologies can enhance competitiveness and productivity.
  5. Review and Adapt Policies: Policymakers should periodically review and adapt economic diversification policies based on evolving challenges and opportunities. A flexible approach that allows for adjustments in response to changing economic conditions will contribute to the sustained success of diversification initiatives.
  6. Encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): Despite positive sentiments, the study suggests a level of uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of policies in attracting FDI. To enhance this aspect, the government should focus on creating an attractive investment climate, offering incentives, and improving regulatory frameworks to encourage more foreign investors.
  7. Facilitate Access to Funding: Challenges related to funding and investment could be mitigated by implementing policies that facilitate easier access to funding for businesses in non-oil sectors. This could involve developing financial instruments, fostering collaboration with financial institutions, and promoting alternative financing mechanisms.
  8. Prioritize Job Creation Strategies: Acknowledging the positive correlation between policies and job creation, policymakers should prioritize strategies that directly impact employment within non-oil sectors. Tailored programs, training initiatives, and incentives can be designed to enhance job opportunities and contribute to the broader goal of economic diversification.

Contribution to Knowledge

This study significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge on economic diversification, specifically within the context of Nigeria. By conducting a comprehensive investigation into the policies and initiatives introduced by the Buhari administration, the research provides nuanced insights into the challenges and successes of efforts aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on oil. The empirical evidence generated through the survey approach adds a valuable layer to the understanding of economic policy effectiveness and the intricacies involved in diversifying a resource-dependent economy.

Moreover, the study contributes methodologically by utilizing a quantitative survey design, aligning with the recommendations of prominent research methodology scholars. The large sample size of 1200 respondents enhances the generalizability of the findings, offering robust statistical evidence on the perceptions and experiences of individuals directly or indirectly affected by the economic policies under scrutiny. This methodological rigour contributes to the broader field of research methods and design, providing a template for future studies seeking to assess the impact of government policies on economic diversification.

Furthermore, the study delves into specific sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and technology, shedding light on the differentiated impacts of policies on each. This sector-specific analysis contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the diversification process, recognizing that the effectiveness of policies varies across industries. This knowledge is crucial for policymakers and stakeholders aiming to tailor interventions to the unique characteristics and challenges of each sector. In essence, the study adds granularity to the discourse on economic diversification, emphasizing the need for targeted strategies in diverse economic domains.


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