Full Project – IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT’S POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES IN NIGERIA
The incidence of poverty has brought variations in living standards around the globe. Some people are fairly well off and others are not. Some individuals are considered rich and others poor. However, everything is relative and that is certainly the case with poverty. For instance, even in countries considered to be rich, we read and hear of such things as ‘Millions of Americans can’t make a decent living” (Schwarz October, 1998:14). What most people in the United States today regard as “stark poverty ……… would seem like luxury in parts of Asia and Africa ………” (Mansfiend 1977:8).
Similarly, a poor person in Nigeria might not be perceived as such by other Africans in dire economic needs. Thus poverty is partly a matter of how one person’s income stacks up against the other person’s and partly how one earns his living.
Due to the arming increase of poverty, the Nigerian government has designed a lot of stabilization measures or programmes to curb or reduce the menace of poverty in this country. Each past administration came up with a unique programme mire in order to eradicate or alleviate poverty in Nigeria (Dike 2000:5). Some of these programmes include; General Olusegun Obasanjo’s Operation Feed The Nation of 1976, Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s Green Revolution Programme of 1979, General M. Buhari’s Operation “Go Back To Land Programme of 1983, Genral Babangida’s Directorate Of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI) of 1986, Genral Sani Abach’s Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP). Chief Olusegun Obasanjo later came back to power on May 29, 1999 and introduced another Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) in the year 2000 (Dike 2000:7).
The above past poverty alleviation programmes yielded minimal fruit or failed dismally. Despite all these programmes, Nigeria experienced worsening poverty situations in 1980s and 1990s. The incidence of poverty increased from 46.3% of the population in 1985 to 65.6% in 1996. The dept of and severity of poverty as well as income inequality also worsened during the period (National Policy on Poverty Eradication, NNPE, December, 200:2).
The result of the failures of these programmes manifested in unemployment, lack of access to credit, rural and gender dimensions of poverty. While none of these programmes was completely without merit, none of them had a significant, lasting, or sustainable positive effect. This is because several factors hindering the success of government’s efforts to reduce the level of poverty were identified, (NEEDS 2004:33). Most of the failures of those programmes included the fact that;
- The programmes were mostly not designed to alleviate poverty;
- They lacked defined policy frameworks with proper guidelines for poverty alleviation;
- They suffered from political instability, interference, policy and macroeconomic dislocations.
- They lacked consistency as well as continuity;
- They are riddled with corruption, political deceptions, outright kleptomania and distasteful looting, (Ali Garba, July, 28 – 29th 2006:4).
Thereafter, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s year 2000 Poverty Eradication Programme NAPEP), came up again with another poverty alleviation programme otherwise known as National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) in 2003, whose primary aim was to create a new Nigerian citizen who values hard work and who realizes that one cannot have something for nothing. Achieving this aim may be the strongest action Nigeria can take to build a better future for its people. NEEDS is about the Nigerian people – their health, education, employment, happiness, sense of fulfillment and general well – being (NEEDS 2004:28).
The policy thrust of the NEEDS programme is not only to reform the economy in order to boost economic growth, but also to empower the people as a means of revitalizing the weakened and social pillar. Doing so calls for a human right approach to development effort. The added value envisaged by this approach is that the norms and values enshrined in it have the potential to empower the people. This is important, because it is now widely recognized that effective poverty alleviation is not possible without doing so (NEEDS 2004:28).
This piece of research work has been designed to find out the impact of NEEDS on poverty alleviation in Niger State with particular focus on Suleja Local Government Area, between 2006 and 2008. This research work will survey the extent to which participation in poverty alleviation programmes in Suleja Local Government Area reduced the poverty of the poor by empowering them through: the training of women in beads making; provision of macro finance loans to the poor; and the establishment of various women/youths skills acquisition centres and many more.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Virtually all past governments of Nigeria initiated policies aimed at poverty alleviation in Nigeria. The strategy has been to render assistance to the people (the poor), thereby alleviating some difficult situations of their lives and at the same time putting similes and adding new hopes to their lives (emphasis mine), as against their poor living conditions.
Some of these government programmes on poverty alleviation in Nigeria have worked fairly well in some parts of the country but in other parts of the country, they failed due to lack of continuity, political interference, the fact that the programmes were not really meant to alleviate poverty, non-implementation f government’s programmes to the letter as well as corrupt political leaders who only enriched themselves, leaving the people wallowing in abject poverty in the face of plenty (Dike 2000:3).
In Niger State, the people are mostly engaged in farming, fishing and rearing of animals. The state has the highest concentration of Dams providing Hydro electricity to the country. These dams are located in Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro. The constructions of these dams were preceded by the massive displacements of people, without their proper resettlement. And, the communities with dams also experience seasonal flooding, particularly when the river Niger over flows its banks. During such an incidence in 1999, several villages were submerged, thousands of people displaced and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
These, coupled with the neglect of communities in which dams are sited by the state and lack of adequate compensation after the flooding, turned these areas into poverty stricken environments, lacking in mostly all basic social facilities, including the electricity generated from their communities (Abdu & Mustapha, 2005:173).
Consequently, the research question is; “Did the participation of the poor in poverty alleviation programme (NEEDS) in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State, reduce their level of poverty. More specifically did the participation of these poor people in:
- The training of women in beads making;
- Provision of micro-finance loans to the poor;
- and the establishment of various women/youths skills acquisition centre reduce the level of poverty of the participants?.
|1.2||OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY|
|The specific objectives of this study will be to understand:|
|A||–||How government’s NEEDS programme on poverty alleviation in Suleja|
|Local Government area of Niger State reduced poverty in the lives of|
|the poor participants in that area.|
|B||–||More specifically, how issues of lack of continuity and consistency affect|
|C||–||How the political leadership of the area has affected this programme|
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- This study has theoretical relevance to students of Political Science, Local Government administration, as well as practical relevance to administrators in the field. That is, it will help to really understand the impact of the poverty alleviation programme on the stated target population in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State.
- It will also enable us understand in details the principles of continuity and consistency in government implementation of its poverty alleviation programme on the poor participants in Suleja Local Government Area.
- It will hopefully stimulate further research work on the intricacies of how the subsequent government’s programmes on poverty alleviation in the Local Government and other states of the federation could achieve positive outcomes.
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Full Project – IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT’S POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES IN NIGERIA