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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE POVERTY ALLEVIATION POLICIES IN NIGERIA
The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of pro-poor policy towards alleviating poverty in Nigeria. This will take a critical look into the already formulated policy framework and assess its strengths in creating an overall enabling environment for national and international actions towards the eradication of poverty. Also ways of overcoming the structural bottlenecks in Nigeria with a view to ultimately put the country back on a path of accelerated growth and sustainable developing will be enunciated. In this thesis, the primary focus is concerned to illustrate and take a cursory analysis of the past and present poverty alleviation programmme in Nigeria. This is being put into perspective, particularly now that all efforts of both the government, Non – Governmental Organizations, Community Based Organization and multilateral organizations operating in the country are geared towards poverty alleviation. Rejecting the top-down approach of the previous poverty alleviation policy, which implementation could not be said to have made any meaningful impact to the high incidence of poverty among the Nigerian populace. This study will look at the current policy to ascertain its viability in achieving its targeted goals and objectives. The brief final section of the paper makes some recommendations on the way forward in at least meeting the much-orchestrated objective of the United Nations in its Millennium Agenda of poverty reduction strategy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page - - - - - - - - - - i
Certification - - - - - - - - - ii
Dedication - - - - - - - - - iii
Acknowledgement - - - - - - - - iv
Abstract - - - - - - - - - - vi
Table of Contents - - - - - - - - vii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Aim of the Study
1.4 Research Hypothesis
1.6 Theoretical Framework
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
2.1 Literature Review
3.1 Historical Background of the Policy of Poverty Alleviation Programme in Nigeria
3.2 Family Support Programme
3.3 Family Economic Advancement Programme
3.4 The Present Poverty Alleviation Policy
3.5 Overview of the Poverty Alleviation Programme of Present Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Administration
4.1 Analysis of the Poverty Alleviation Policy
4.2 Analysis of the Present NAPEP
4.3 Good Governance
4.4 Lack of Good Policy Formulation and Implementation
Nigeria like most developing countries is trying to priorities its public expenditures and policy actions according to the impact on development and poverty alleviation among its citizenry. Although these policies sometimes tend to be general and declaratory in nature, there are also many examples of good practice. Nigeria as a country, has come closer to a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction, based on National Poverty Alleviation Programme, and the integration or planned integration of the poverty orientation into the medium term expenditure framework and budget processes.
The policy framework is captured in the three key elements that were set out inter alia: first, a comprehensive understanding of poverty and its determinants; second, choosing public actions that have the highest poverty impact; and third, participatory setting of targets and monitoring of outcome indicators. This provides a basis for systematically reviewing trade off among different types of action, policy and programmes and use of limited public resources mainly fiscal and institutional capacity. In Nigeria, as the case study, the application of this pro-poor policy framework will merely represent an intensification of efforts already underway by past governments.
Furthermore, in understanding of poverty and its determinants is fundamental to determining appropriate public actions. Policy formulation should start from a dis-aggregated understanding of who the poor are, where they live, and their source of livelihoods. This enables an exploration of poverty determinants, which includes but is not limited to social sectors. Nigeria could work through and select what is important in this particular case. For Nigeria where there is unavailability of data and institutional capacity, as well as past scrutiny, this analysis should focus on the incidence and profile of poverty.
In choosing public actions with the highest poverty impact, given the budget constraints that stare the face of Nigerian government, and particularly the limited revenue available in the country, there is a need to priorities among alternative interventions and choose those which, at the margin, have the largest poverty impact. Understanding the causal mechanisms underlying poverty outcome is key to determining appropriate public action(s). The multiplicity of causal factors means that a variety of measures can be contemplated to improve a particular outcome, involving action on either a single cause or a set of causes. These will have different costs, and are likely to have different knock-on effects on other outcomes.
It is important to emphasis multiple paths of causation and the necessity for an integrated view, across areas of public action and areas of outcomes. For example, good governance is critical to empowerment, but is clearly equally critical to the improvements in outcomes in poverty, capabilities and security. The key dimensions of outcomes mirror the themes of the World Development Report 2000, although here, in order to highlight the direct operational relevance of the approach, opportunities and capabilities are distinguished in order to correspond to areas of public action: reducing barriers to access and improving service delivery. One universal prescription at the country level that underpins each of these areas of actions is intimately linked to good governance and the need to develop and nurture institutions that ate accountable, flexible and responsive to needs of the poor.
However, there have been arguments among scholars and policy analyst alike that Nigeria as a country need to follow some supporting initiatives that help empowers people living in poverty. Targeting more especially women, and promoting their capacities to enable them to improve their access to and better utilize available opportunities, basic social and other types of services, as well as productive resources.
Others also advocated building on successful policy reforms and continuing efforts toward sound economic management with a view to attaining levels of economic growth necessary for reaching the objectives of the programme of action, including through focusing efforts in the areas of fiscal and financial sector reform and promotion of microcredit, promoting an equitable distribution of the benefits of growth and development in favor of the poor and improving their access to basic social services with a view to increasing their opportunities for participation in economic activity. Promoting the efficiency the markets within an effective institutional, regulatory, supervisory and legal setting, while improving linkages between different economic activities, particularly between agriculture and micro and small enterprises, and integrating sectorial reforms within broader development objectives were also submitted.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Human development is much more than more the rise or fall of national incomes it is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. Human development challenges remain large in the new millennium “Development is about expanding the choices people have to have lead lives that they value”.
The post independent Nigeria has been overtaken and engulfed with several development problems. Among these seemingly insurmountable backlashes comes the contagious issue of poverty. The welfare outcomes of decentralized federal government programs such as operation feed the nation, Green Revolution, Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) aiming to reduce poverty nationally will depend on the reactions of the poor masses on which these programmes were meant for.
To know what helps to alleviate poverty, what works and what does not, what changes over time, poverty has to be defined, measured and studied and even lived. As poverty has many dimensions, it has to be looked at through a variety of indicators – levels of income and consumption, social indicators, and now increasingly indicators of vulnerability to risks and of socio/political access. Everyone has a stake in working more effectively, with greater scope, to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
1.3 AIM OF THE STUDY
Recent research and development experiences suggest that sufficiently high and sustained growth is a prerequisite for meaningful, hopefully irreversible, and impact on poverty.
Substantial and lasting reductions, if not complete eradication, of poverty has been and will continue to be the ultimate goal of economic and social development. The achievement of goal has; however, so far eluded virtually Nigeria as well as many other countries in the rest of the developing world. Accordingly to borrow a leaf from the result of the World Bank study of “Poverty in Nigeria” where a highlight was initiated on the viability of any successful policy to improve welfare and ameliorate poverty in Nigeria involving all stakeholders, must include three simultaneous courses of action:
i. A strong and focused emphasis on economic growth
ii. Better access for the poor to social services and adequate infrastructure
iii. Target interventions’ to protect the poorest or the most vulnerable.
Having enumerated this standpoint, the aim of this study is to proffer analysis of these pro-poor policies and its viability towards alleviation of poverty in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
As a guide in carrying out this research, I will thinker on the following hypothesis.
i. How has welfare changed and why
ii. Are the changes sustainable
iii. Is welfare affected by policy
iv. Is the new policy reducing poverty
With a view provide a detailed and analytical data on this phenomenon of poverty, I will avail myself with the following method. This will give room for the usage of set data collated for analytical purposes, as it will not rely exclusively on any particular technique of analysis but will apply any appropriate technique accordingly. Thus, it will involve:
Library Research and Internet Research
Here, we will study and review past theoretical and empirical studies by other authors and researchers as to sharpen our focus for the study, details of which will be presented in chapter two and four.
This has to do with going to the field to sources for relevant data. In addition to primary sources such as Observation, Oral Interviews and Records and Report Techniques, secondary data which includes: published data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Journals, Magazine, Newspaper articles, Seminar and Conference papers, Publications, Monographs, Textbooks, Working Papers of Institute, Discussion Papers and others relevant to the area, will also use.
1.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
In so far as it is very important to identify the analytical framework in which this research work is based. This is bearing in mind that a theory, especially one that is comprehensive, will not only embrace all areas of the subject, but will be capable of explaining every phenomenon in the field. If that is so, our theory must satisfactorily explain every stage development of poverty has so far passed through and every project that succeeded. In fact, a theory must be able to explain every failure so far. In that case, it will be a tool in the hands of the Nigerian government, for national planning.
Based on this standpoint, political economy approach as was enunciated by Claude Ake 1981 will be the basic framework for this research. Ake sees political economy as a science that deals with how society produces goods and services to meet its material needs and how it has been distributed as well as the method of relationship that exists amongst the producers of such goods. On the other hand, he insists that less developed countries of which Nigeria is one are not primary responsible for their own underdevelopment, Rather their backwardness is the by-product of exploitation by the developed capitalist world. Nigeria’s colonial experience and its integration into the already or overblown capitalist economies of its colonial masters can be attributed to be the main cause of its present state of poverty.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Despite the fact that the prevalence of Nigeria poverty seems to have defied all government policies towards its eradication since the first years of independence, this work will concentrate on previous as well as current policy framework already put in place by various and successive governments in alleviating the prevalence of poverty in Nigeria.
I will rely on secondary (data) sources as major source of information for this work. Hence the work may not be free from the problem of inadequacies and inconsistencies generally associated with data in Nigeria. Also, the problem of time and finance is eminent. These constraints will to some extent necessitate the limited scope of the work. However, it is hoped that, despite these constraints, the result of this study will be relevant and serve the purpose for which it is intended.