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Government expenditure has served as a common means of using fiscal
policy in many countries to achieve economic growth, expansion,
development and transformation of the economic base. According to
Musgrave (1989), He described public expenditure as tool used to achieve
three distinct objectives which include allocation, distributive and
stabilization purpose. Hence the public expenditure is a comprehensive set
of expenditure policy measures designed to achieve certain set up macroeconomic goals including maintaining equilibrium between the aggregate
demand and aggregate supply (IMF 1993).
There are many irregularities in the country leading to public outcry and
there was increasing fraud in government activities resulting from an
inappropriate public finance planning and implementation mostly in
Nigeria. Banks and businesses were collapsing which lead to crises in the
external and internal activity of the economy. Some of the hills that caused
this are corruption, indiscipline, lack of accountability which is the hallmark
of the Nigerian society resulting to decrease in growth and development.
Evident of unstable economic is fund in poorest wages and salary structure
in the world. The inter-relationship effect is low productivity, avoidable,
idle time, leading to loss of trade with advanced countries that have better
finished products. The consequential effect is deficit in balance of trade and
To this extent Sulieman (2009) observes that the size of government and
also its impact on economic growth has emerged as a major fiscal
management issue facing economies in transition. He notes that previous
research focused mainly on the size of government in industrialised
countries, (DC’s), trade dependency, the vulnerability to external shock and
volatility of finance, the role and size of government become germane to
adjustment and stabilization programme. Mitchel (2005) has argued that a
large and growing government is not conducive to better economic
For decades public expenditure has been expanding in Nigeria, as in other
countries of the world. Akpan (2005) opines that the observed growth in
public spending appears to apply to most countries regardless of their level
of economic development. This necessitates the need to determine the need
to determine whether the behaviour of Nigeria public expenditure and the
economy can be hinged on wagner’s (1883) law of ever-increasing state
activity or the Keynesian (1936) theory and Friedman (1979) or peacock
and Wiseman’s (1979) hypothesis.
Consequently, this study dwells primarily on the expenditure side of public
finance, and seeks to examine the relationship between government
expenditure and economic growth in Nigeria for the period 1980 to 2010.
Although this is in line with the previous empirical studies considered for
the Nigeria situation. However in this work, this study employs econometric
methodology after examining the fiscal factors in the link between public
expenditure and economic growth.
Policy makers are divided as to whether government expansion helps or
hinders economic growth. Advocates of bigger government argue that
government programs provide value “pubic goods” such as education and
infrastructure they also claim that increases in government spending can
boost economic growth by putting money into people’s pocket. Proponents
of smaller government have the opposite view. They explain that
government is too big and that higher spending undermines economic
growth by transferring additional from the productive sector of the economy
to government, which uses them less efficiently. They also warn that
expanding public expenditure leads to complication in implementing pregrowth policies, Such as fundamental tax reform and personal retirement
accounts. This is because critics can use the existence of budget deficit as a
reason to opposite policies that would strengthen the growth of the
A major concern about the Keynesian school of thought is that; if
government interference is an effective remedy for recession and has no
side effect, why do so many oppose the policy of budgetary expansion?
Firstly, a large public sector diminishes the business sector in personal and
the sources of investment. It may be maintained that in time of recession,
much of the workforce is not employed at all, and therefore, employment in
the public sector does not come at the expense of the public sector.
Furthermore, in any growing economy, Government spending can be
curtailed, the government can revert to a lower level of spending and
personnel can be redirected to the business sector. However, while
budgetary expansion is easy in recession, cut-backs during economic high
are very difficult. No minister or director of a public institution relinquishes
authority and budget easily. The result is an inflated and inefficient public
sector even after the recession is over, and also a lower rate of growth in the
private sector than its potential would indicate.
The relationship between public expenditure and growth is important
especially for developing countries (Nigeria inclusive), most of which have
experienced increasing level of public expenditure over time. There is
evidence that, unlike in the case if developed countries, consumption is not
negatively related with economic growth. This study shall empirical
investigate this relationship in the case of Nigeria, with a view of explaining
the reason behind the observed causality between them.
This study intends to appraise the relationship between government
expenditure and economic growth over the years (1980-2010). The trend of
government expenditure will be assessed with reference to the Nigerian
economy, the specific objectives are:
To examine the impact of government expenditure on economic
To identify the trend of public expenditure in Nigeria.
To examine the constraint limiting the effectiveness of public
expenditure as an engine of economic growth.
To proffer solutions to the problems identified in factors limiting the
effectiveness of public expenditure.
Ho: The government expenditure has no positive effect on the economic growth
of Nigeria.
H1: The government expenditure has positive effect on the economic growth of
Whilst acknowledging the fact that this study is not the first of its kind
using the Nigeria data. However, it shall go a little further than earlier
works to correctly capture all known composition of public expenditure
during the years under review to assess the impact of public expenditure on
economic growth.
The relationship between government spending and growth is especially
important for developing countries like Nigeria, most of which have
experienced increasing levels of public expenditures over time. This has
tended to be associated with rising fiscal deficit, suggesting their limited
ability to raise sufficiently revenue to finance higher level of expenditure.
Rising deficit tends to retard economic growth in developing countries
because of the inability of such country to check inflation during deficit
years. Thus, this study gives a good insight into problems created by rising
government expenditure and how the same impact on growth.
Also, this study will enable policy makers to promote economic without
recourse to huge deficit finance. This often results in inflation particularly
when increase in government expenditure is no matched by corresponding
increase in output. The bitter experience of the oil boom is still fresh in
many minds.
The growth of government spending and its impact on the performance of
the economy shall be examined with data spanning from 1980 to 2010.
Attention shall mainly be focused on exhaustive and productive government
expenditure during the period under review.
One major limitation of the study is that the data to be used for the
empirical analysis may be porous as such data are often manipulated for
political reason. Besides, the study shall cover a limited number of years
because of none availability of data. Another constraint to be faced in the
cause of my study is time factor; the time frame of my work is going to
hinder me from gathering as much information needed for proper analysis
of the impact of government expenditure.
Another limitation to my study is finance, lack and insufficient finance for
finding sources of information and acquisition of material for my study. But
not withstanding of these limitations the study will serve its purpose


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