The fact that the producers were not adequately insulated from the fluctuation in world prices has generated many criticisms of the stabilization role of the Marketing Boards. It has been argued1 that the Boards have achieved neither price stabilization nor income stabilization; and that conceivably the producers, as producers, were worse off under the Boards than under the previous marketing arrangement. A fresh exercise was recently carried out into the whole question of price and income fluctuations under the Marketing Boards and the result indicated the invalidity of trying to generalize for all the Boards or for all the commodities.2 But whatever the success or failure of the Boards with respect to stabilization of prices and incomes, their importance to the general financing of development during the period under review cannot be denied. And this is really the more crucial problem; for as Dr Helleiner remarked, 'Growth should always have carried greater weight in Nigerian policy formation than stability, and there exists no conclusive evidence that the two are correlated.'3 In spite of certain misuse of funds, the accumulated reserves were expended largely on beneficial public development projects. And without the existence of the Boards, there is no clear evidence that the same funds would have been collected and expended more rationally from the viewpoint of general economic development. Again, it is useful to recall Dr Helleiner's conclusion on the matter:
'The Marketing Boards' uses of the earnings from their trading operations, while subject to question in some particular instances, notably those involving equity investment in and loans to private companies, have clearly promoted economic development. Such diverse activities as agricultural research and experimentation, the construction of universities, road-building and modern manufacturing have all benefited from the Marketing Boards' support. On balance, it would be difficult not to conclude that the earning and
1 The issue was fiercely contested in the literature in the 1950's-see especially
the Economic Journal, December 1952, January 1953, June 1953, December 1954 and March 1957. The principal characters involved in the debate include P. T. Bauer, F. W. Paish, Polly Hill, Barbu Niculescu and Arthur Hazlewood,
2 Ayo Ogunsheye, 'Marketing Boards and the Stabilization of Producer Prices
and Income in Nigeria', Nigerian Journal of Economic & Social Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2, July 1965, pp. 131-43.