This premise of this research is based on the Impact of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) on Economic Development of Nigeria. The research adopted a survey research design. A well structured questionnaire was designed and administered to respondents. A sample size of one hundred (100) was drawn from the population of study. The sampling was made based on a simple random sampling technique. The data gathered were presented in tables and analysed with simple percentages. The hypothesis formulated was analysed with the use of Chi-Square technique. It was concluded that - National Poverty Eradication Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has impacted positively on the economic development of Nigeria. Recommendations were proffered that; all funds ear-marked for any programme should be made complete before embarking on such programmes, this is aimed at reducing the rate of abandoned programmes on the bases of inadequate funding.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social Sciences’ literature is replete with attempt by Economists and other Social Scientists to conceptualize the phenomenon. Poverty has economic, social and political ramifications. The poor are materially deprived, socially alienated and politically excommunicated. Basically, Poverty has been conceptualized in the following ways: a. Lack of access to basic needs/goods and b. Lack of or impaired access to productive resources.
Poverty as lack of access to basic needs/goods is essentially economic or consumption oriented. Thus the poor are conceived as those individuals or households in a particular society, incapable of purchasing a specified basket of basic goods and services. Basic goods as used here include; food, shelter, water, health care, access to productive resources including education, working skill and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions (Ajakaiye and Adeyeye 2001 in Gbosi, 2004). It is generally agreed that in conceptualizing poverty, low income or low consumption is its symptom. The level of poverty in Nigeria since the implementation of SAP in the 1980s has tremendously increased (UNDP Nigeria, 1998; FOS, 1999; World Bank, 1999).
The poverty profile in Nigeria showed that the incidence of poverty increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 43.6% in 1985 but declined to 42.7% in 1992 and rose again to 65.6% in 1996 (FOS 1999). Since 1990 the country has been classified as a poor nation. The UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI) for 2001 ranked Nigeria the 142nd with HDI of 0.40 among the poorest countries. From 1980-1996, the population of poor Nigerians increased four folds in absolute terms. The percentage of the core poor increased from 62% in 1980 to 93% in 1996 whereas the moderately poor only rose from 28.9% in 1992 to 36.3% in 1996 (FOS, 1999). The analysis of the depth and severity of poverty in Nigeria showed that rural areas were the most affected. Several reasons accounted for the situation viz; a. the large concentration of the populace in the rural areas and b. many years of neglect of the rural areas in terms of infrastructural development and lack of information on the way government is being run.
The CBN/World Bank study on poverty Assessment and Alleviation in Nigeria (1999) attested to the fact that the living and environmental conditions of those living in the rural areas have worsened. Urban poverty is also on the increase in the country. This has been attributed to the under provision of facilities and amenities which are already inadequate to match the growing demand of the urban populace as well as the rural-urban movement which has caused serious pressure on the existing infrastructural facilities. Concern about this problems as well as efforts made to eradicate or at least reduce it cannot be said to be new. While major reductions in poverty level have been made in developed countries, developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, have been battling with poverty, from one poverty alleviation programme to another eradication programme, but all to no avail.
The concern over increasing poverty levels in Nigeria and the need for its eradication as a means of improving the standard of living of the people has led to the conceptualization and implementation of various targeted or non-targeted poverty eradication and alleviation-programmes. Both the Nigerian government and donor agencies have been active in efforts in analyzing and finding solutions to the increase of poverty level. Government programmes and agencies designed to impact on poverty include:
a. The Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (D.F.F.R.I).
b. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
c. The establishment of the Peoples Bank of Nigeria in 1989.
d. The Better Life Programme (BLP)
e. The Family Support Programme (FSP)
f. The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
g. National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).
h. The Nomadic and Adult Education Programme established in 1986.
And most recently, with the return of democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government embarked on poverty reduction programme specifically, the government put up the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in the year 2000 which took off in 2001. It was aimed at eradicating absolute poverty and it consist of four schemes namely;
a. Youth Empowerment Scheme, Rural Infrastructures and Development Scheme
b. Social Welfare Services Scheme
c. Rural Resources Development and
d. Conservation Scheme.
To implement thus programmes, the government placed emphasis on complementation, collaboration and coordination between the various tiers of government on the one hand and between government, Donor/Agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities on the other. A multi-agency implementation structure with coordination, monitoring and evaluating organ was introduced in order to ensure cost effective delivery target with optimal social benefit. Particularly this programme, NAPEP is being implemented in Nigeria till date. The questions arising from the implementation of NAPEP include:
a. Is poverty eradicating programe appropriate for Nigeria?
b. How has government’s concept of NAPEP affected its success?
c. How has NAPEP’s activities impacted on poverty reduction as a boost to economic development?
In spite of all the laudable efforts at addressing poverty, the problem still persist in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Today, poverty is widely addressed as a global problem. Poverty affects over four billion people. It is important to know that most of the poor people live in the developing worlds of Africa, Asia and Latin America (Gbosi 2004). On the average 45-50 percent of sub-Saharan Africans live below the poverty line. And in Nigeria about 43% of the population was living below the poverty line of N305 a year in 1985 prices, (World Bank, 1996). This figure has been purging upwards to over 60% in recent time. Poverty is indeed a global problem. To this effect the United Nations declared 1996 the international year of eradication of poverty and 1997-2006 a decade of poverty eradication. In pursuance of this target, government in both developed and developing countries became increasingly aware of the poverty problem and several development efforts to alleviate poverty therefore have been embarked upon world-wide. There is a high incidence of poverty in Nigeria today. Especially, the incidence of poverty is very high among the unemployed, the uneducated women and rural dwellers (Gbosi 2004). In 1980, the poverty level was only 28.1% but by 1996 it had jumped to 66.6%. Having been mindful of the implications to the economy, the government needs to make concerted efforts in order to reduce poverty in the country. This is because a high incidence of poverty is not good for the health of a developing country like Nigeria. A review of the economic history of Nigeria shows that successive governments have expressed concern of the need to alleviate poverty in the country.
Unfortunately, the issues of poverty eradication has proved to be the most difficult challenge facing the less developed Countries ( Nigeria inclusive) where majority of the people live in absolute poverty. However, the government has continued to respond in order to ameliorate the worsening conditions of the poor by shifting public expenditure toward poverty eradication. Different poverty eradication programmes and projects to cushion the effects of poverty have been initiated over the years. This was received with high hopes. Poverty eradication was seen as a means through which the government could revamp the battered economy and rebuild self-esteem in majority of Nigerians. Consequently, on assumption of office in 1999, President Obasanjo indicated that the poverty situation in which over 60% of Nigerians live below the poverty line requires concerted efforts to prevent it from becoming worse. In this vein, the government in addition to previous efforts (aimed at poverty eradication) introduced a number of programmes and measures aimed at tackling poverty. These include:
a. The launching of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy NEEDS, which has poverty reduction as one of the four primary goals (NEEDS documents, 2004).
b. The Launching of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme,
c. The poverty alleviation programme (PAP)
d. The constitution of the Ahmed Joda Panel in 1999 and the
e. Ango Abdullahi Committee in 2000 (Obadan, 2001).
The immediate concern of the Panel or Committee was the streamlining and rationalization of existing poverty alleviation institutions and the co-coordination, implementation and monitoring of relevant schemes. These resulted in the introduction (in early 2001) of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in Nigeria. Data has it that over N25billion from 2001 till date have been received by NAPEP for the fight against poverty in Nigeria. Unfortunately poverty level seems to be unresponsive to these windfall of resources addressed for the fight. In spite of this huge resources devoted to NAPEP, deterioration in fiscal discipline, corruption and inconsistent policies which had undermined past efforts still makes poverty eradication in Nigeria a paradox. The rate of unemployment has continued to rise and the poverty situation has exacerbated.
In a reaction to an allegation of mismanagement of funds meant for the war against poverty in Nigeria, by the Nigeria senate, NAPEP said that it has generated funds from other sources and expended N21.725 billion on the programme from 2001 to 2008. The National Coordinator of the programme and Special Assistant to the President Dr. Magnus Kpakol explained that since inception in 2001. The programme has received N11.8 Billion as budgetary allocation, N4billion for procurement of Keke NAPEP, N10billion from State Governments and commercial banks for multi- partnership programme and N8.2 billion from the Millennium Development Goal (MDG). This totals N34billion. However, the NAPEP boss explained that about N21.7billion has been spent so far. (Daily Champion, Wednesday February 18, 2009 pg7). In a motion titled "Dismal Performance of the National Poverty Eradication Programme" Senator Kure observed that poverty have continued to be on the increase with about 70% of the Nation’s population currently living below poverty level. He lamented that since its establishment in 2001, the agency have not efficiently impacted on the lives of Nigerians despite huge resource committed through budgetary allocations and Millennium Development Goal ( MDG) fund. As a mater of fact, the need arises to take a careful look at the issues of poverty in Nigeria, coming against the background of continuing efforts on the part of the government to address it, if close to N30billon has been gathered for poverty eradication in 8years and these resources are utilized efficiently, there should have been significant improvements in the living standard of the generality of the people and the poverty level should ordinarily be reduced. However, in order not to pre-empt the outcome of this study, this is aimed at finding out how the activities of NAPEP has impacted negatively or positively on Economic Development and the generality of the lives of Nigerians from 2001 till date.
1.2 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
Broadly, the objective of this study is to examine the impact of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) on the Economic Development of Nigeria. Though this study uses Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as a case study, the conclusions derived shall be used to generalize on its impact on the whole country. The specific objectives include:
a. To access whether National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has achieved its objectives of poverty eradication in Nigeria.
b. To identify areas of deficiencies, problems and failures, and proffer some policy recommendations based on the findings of this study.
1.4 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY
H0: National Poverty Eradication Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has not impacted positively on the economic development of Nigeria.
H1: National Poverty Eradication Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has impacted positively on the economic development of Nigeria.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
To the masses this research work intends to publicise the activities and programmes of NAPEP, and how it has affected the well being of Nigerians. To the Government and Policy-makers, it identifies and reveals the successes and failures, challenges and prospects of NAPEP and affords them the opportunity of designing and implementing a holistic approach, procedures and strategies and better ways of tackling this hydra- headed menace called, poverty. Also to the students and fellow researchers, it reveals the operations and the impact of NAPEP on the people. While it serves as an addition to the stock of knowledge, it also serves as a basis for further research.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the impact of National Poverty Eradication Programmes (NAPEP) on Economic Development in Nigeria; A case study of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The period of study covers from 2001-2009.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Being a programme that has lasted for just nine (9) years, I had difficulties in assessing materials done in this area. Also combining this research work with my classroom work was very demanding. Financial constraints to a large extent also affected the way this work may have be carried out. Finally the secondary data used in this work cannot be qualitatively guaranteed by me as they were compiled by different bodies. With regards to the primary data, some respondents may not return their questionnaires while some may be damaged in the process.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF CONCEPTS
Poverty: It could be defined as a situation where ones income is too low to allow the purchase of goods and service that will satisfy its basic need and when it has no financial resources kept in the form of accumulated or acquired wealth.
Poverty Line: It is defined as the money cost of a given person at a given time and place of a reference level of welfare. The people who do not maintain this level is called the poor and those who do are not.
Poverty level: It is used to denote those living below the poverty line.
Respondents: These are people whom the research questionnaires were given to for responses.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
The study is divided into five chapters: Chapter one, contains introduction which is subdivided into: Background of the study, Statement of the study, Objective of the study, Hypothesis of the study, Significance of the study, Scope of the study, Limitations of the study, Definitions of concepts and Organizations of the study. Chapter two contains literature review subdivided into theoretical and empirical literature. Chapter three discusses the research methodology, chapter four dwells on data analysis, interpretation of results and chapter five talks about summary of findings, conclusions and policy recommendations.
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