THE EFFECTIVENESS OF POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES IN NIGERIA
Poverty is a situation in an economy where there is inadequate level of income and consumption, resulting in insufficient basic necessities of life such as health care, housing, adequate nutrition, adequate clothing etc. The World Bank Development report (1995, P.14 Vol.2) identified that over 65 percent of the world’s Populations live in absolute poverty. This phenomenon is rampant among third world countries like Korea, Indian, Ghana, Nigeria etc., where most citizens are unable to adequately provide themselves the basic needs of life like food, shelter, clothing, education, etc. It arises essentially when people are not engaged in meaningful economic activity. Nigeria is one of the leading third world nations in which a good proportion of the world’s poorest citizens live. (Millennium Summit held 6th. - 8th. September 2000 in New York). The poor citizens in Nigeria are beset with the following conditions:
High child mortality
Poor physical health
High Death rate
Poor access to sustainable water
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Following the United Nation’s Millennium Declaration adopted at the millennium summit held 6th. – 8th. September 2000 in New York, Nigeria has been committed to the realization of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The MDGs summarized the development goals agreed on at the international conferences and world summits during the 1990s, which includes 8 goals, 18 targets and over 40 indicators. These includes:
To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
To achieve Universal Basic Education
To promote Gender Equality
To reduce child mortality
To improve Maternal Health
To Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other Diseases
To ensure Environmental Sustainability, and
To develop a Global partnership for development.
These goals were targets for making measurable improvement in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens. A participating country such as Nigeria was expected to articulate policies, strategies and plans which will facilitate the achievement of the eight millennium development goals, while the United Nation’s Development system was to work closely with countries to facilitate the nation’s effort to alleviate poverty.
In meeting the demand of the UN, Nigeria has embarked on many programmes to ascertain the task of reducing poverty in Nigeria. These includes:
The Better Life/Family Support Programmes
The National Directorate of Employment
Self/Help Group for Foundation
The Directorate of Food, Road and Rural
Thus, it is therefore the aim of this work to examine this situation critically with respect to poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Poverty seems to have become a natural phenomenon in Nigeria. Successive government in Nigeria has been noted to have made efforts towards poverty alleviation in Nigeria. It is obvious that most poor people in Africa and particularly in Nigeria cannot provide for themselves the basic needs of life. The persistence of poverty in the world and indeed in Nigeria has made it imperative for the Federal Government to embark on some of the development programmes like Family Support programmes, Free Health Services etc. to ensure improved standard of living for the poor masses.
The researcher, therefore intend to find out whether the poverty alleviation programmes so far have actually been effective in alleviating poverty in Nigeria.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The result of this research work will be of immense benefit not only to policy formulators for Nigeria government in their current effort to eradicate poverty but also to the international communities and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) whose effort laid down in the millennium development goals’ document emphasizes eradication of poverty internationally.
It will also be of use to investors, both domestic and foreign, in their investment decisions. Increased standard of living will result in increased aggregate demand and a larger market for profitable investment decisions. It will also be of use as a reference document in the Ebonyi State University library and in the Economics Department library for further research work.
The individuals, the curious public or the society at large will also benefit from this research work, as it will highlight the various causes of poverty and how the incidence of poverty can be effectively eradicated in Nigeria.
More so, results from this study would help government in the formulation of policies for managing the economy in general and controlling poverty in particular.
It will be of help to other researchers carrying out investigations in similar or related areas in the generation of information on the existing literature.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The poverty assessment and alleviation is the main aim of this work. From studies, the proportion of poor people in the total population of Nigeria has expanded in recent years inspite of her rich petroleum wealth and the efforts of successive governmental and non-governmental organizations towards poverty alleviation programmes. The researcher therefore will tend to find answers to the following questions:
1. What is poverty?
2. What are the causes of poverty in Nigeria?
3. How can poverty be measured?
4. Has the poverty level of rural development in the poverty alleviation programmes increased?
5. What efforts have the government of Nigeria, individuals, non-governmental organizations made to eradicate poverty in Nigeria?
6. Are the poverty alleviation programmes achieving their objectives?
7. What are the problems militating against poverty reduction programmes?
8. What are the ideal ways of handling the poverty problem in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This research work will be guided by the following hypotheses:
Ho: Poverty alleviation programmes have not significantly reduced poverty in Nigeria.
H1: Poverty alleviation programmes have significantly reduced poverty in Nigeria.
1.6 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are:
i) To examine the concept of poverty in Nigeria context.
ii) To examine the problem militating against poverty reduction programmes.
iii) To examine the level of rural development in the poverty alleviation programme has increased.
iv) The appraisal of poverty alleviation programme in Nigeria.
v) The possible ways of alleviating poverty in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This is an assessment of poverty alleviation programmes in a developing economy with particular reference to Nigeria within the sample period 1980 – 1999. This period was chosen because that was the time poverty alleviation programmes were applied as tools for improving the economic well being of the poor masses.
The conduct of this research work has not been without some problems and constraints; these constraints are likely to make the findings inaccurate to a large extent.
1. Unavailability of adequate data required for this work.
2. The stipulated time for this research was considered too short for a topic as wide as this to be adequately and effectively handled.
3. The constraint imposed by inadequate finance to enable the researcher reach some important respondents or collects some vital data.
4. Unwillingness of some people to divulge information.
5. Inconsistency of information given by different respondents.
Apart from all these limitations, all other errors or omissions are precisely those of the researcher.
1.8 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
The concept of poverty is multidimensional in nature. However, in this study our working definition is in terms of low income, inability to provide basic needs of life such as food, shelter etc. Therefore, poverty could be absolute or relative.
1. Absolute poverty:
Absolute poverty is defined as a situation where the resources of individuals or families are inadequate to provide his basic needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing etc.
2. Relative poverty:
Relative poverty is defined as a position of individual household compared with the average income in the country, such as a poverty line set at one-half of the mean income or at the 40th. Percentage of the distribution, and which often varies with the level of average income.
Angaye (1996), “Poverty and Plenty in Nigeria” Rivers Journal of the Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 1 and 2, P54-57
Basdlim (1990), Poverty, Inequality and Development Cambridge University Press.
Celebrated Papers for the 1997 Annual Conference of Nigerian Economic Society, Ibadan`
Christian (1980), “Poverty: Its Remedies in Cameroon Proceeding of the 1980.
Eyong M. O. (1998), “Inflation, Unemployment and Poverty Alleviation in developing Economy” the Nigerian Experience, paper presented at the University of Calabar of the General Conference of CRS Economic Annual Meeting, Calabar May 19.
Eyong M. O. (1998), The United Nations Documentary.
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