POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME AS A STRATEGY OF IMPROVING NIGERIA’S ECONOMY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A major global human problem of our time which along with the environmental threats that weighs heavily on our planet and on the future of human society is poverty, poverty generally is a popular research and development topic in recent years at both local and global levels.
The local situation is perhaps best captured by the activities of Center for African Settlement Studies And Development (CASSAD) (see Onibokun et al,1995) while the international global position is aptly presented by those of the World Bank.
Poverty is in many respect seen as a disease (such as aids) that everybody dreads and looking for a way to avoid it. Many want to pretend or ignore its existence and few want to discuss it seriously. While still a smaller fraction want to commit themselves to very concrete actions, that can address it beyond expressions of pity or through philanthropic gesture. It afflicts its victims with such devastating human misery that it is very tempting to look the other way in order to avoid the anguish of seeing fellow human beings in that conditions.
True poverty emerges when distortion become too pronounced that people, groups and countries lose their capacity to adapt, change and survive, such as when populations in oil producing areas are displaced by pollution, when increasing population reduce fallow periods, thus ruining the land and the population, or when pronounced rural-urban migration undermines the provision of infrastructural facilities in the urban areas making all residents poorer for it. (1972 Annual Conference of Nigeria Economic Society).
Poverty is a multi-dimensional phenomenon which has no single or universally accepted definition. It has economic dimensions which revolves around the nature and level of material deprivation which afflicts the poor and which distinguishes them from non-poor. This deprivation can be seen in terms of low incomes or low consumption, the lack of basic physical necessities of life, the lack of assets and other locational or objectives handicaps.
Poverty has a social dimension manifesting in terms of social inferiority, low status, lack of dignity or self-esteem insecurity, vulnerability and marginalisation.
In political terms poverty is associated with powerlessness exclusion from the decision-making process, dehumanization and denial of basic natural and political rights. All these dimensions tend to reinforce one another. Poverty is closely linked to the shortage of certain vital resources (Onibukun et al) it often result from an enduring harsh and inhospitable environment, but no often than not from the breakdown of economic, demographic, ecological, cultural and social system.
Poverty has been recognized as a universal social problem that must be eradicated if the world is to be humane, fair and just. The Human Development Report (1996) had earlier confirmed that “poverty and underdevelopment are no longer inevitable and should not be tolerated; that its eradication is a practical possibility.
However, it is possible to mention that causes of poverty as follows: the rapid and unchecked urbanization in the past few decades, the economic development processes, particularly the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), inadequacies and lack of participation and collaboration by the people and the private sector.
Poverty is too complex to yield any one dimensional solution or policy since it is caused by a multiplicity of factors, no single instrument can suffice to remove it. The battle against poverty has to be fought on many fronts (both simultaneously and sequentially) using different strategies and instruments the way we conceive poverty has a fundamental implications for the way we approach the problem in terms of explanations solution.
Despite efforts at various quarters in alleviating poverty, one wonders if these efforts have yielded any good result. This work will therefore try to assess the effort of the present government in alleviating poverty and raising the standard of living of Nigerians.
The concern over increasing poverty levels especially in the developing countries and the need for its alleviation 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 alleviation programme worldwide. In Nigeria, both the Nigerian government and donor agencies have been active in efforts to analyse and find solutions to the menace of poverty in the country.
Government programmes and agencies design to impact on poverty include:
- The Directorate of food, roads and rural infrastructure (DFFRI)
- National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
- Better Life Programme (BLP)
- Family Support Programme (FSP)
- Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
- Nomadic and Adult Education Programme (NAEP)
- National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP)
This work will therefore be anchored on the efforts of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) towards poverty alleviation in Nigeria with particular emphasis on Akwa Ibom State.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Since the oil glut of the late 1970’s and 1980’s the Nigerian economy, which is monolithic has been in an abysmal state. The same period witnessed a progressive increase in the population of the country. Consequently, bringing about deteriorating quality of life and standard of living of the people.
This situation does not only worry the majority of the poor but also the government. To the government the situation does not anchor well with the performance of the economy which is measured based on the standard of living of the masses.
The concept of organized society is built around the ability of the state to provide the greatest happiness to the greatest number. Inspite of this philosophy, life in Nigeria has not been encouraging to the masses.
Unemployment within our economy had been alarming with attendant increase in crime rate, making ends meet among the vast majority of the citizenry had been an uphill task. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) was therefore established in 1986 to perform the following duties:
- Design and implement programmes to combat unemployment.
- Articulate policies aimed at developing work programmes with labour intensive potentials.
- Tackle employment problems in both the short and long term perspectives by formulating and administering job creation as well as employment related training programmes.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The major objectives of the study are:
- The find out the extent to which the ongoing poverty alleviation programme of the National Directorate of Employment has been successful.
- To evaluate recent poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria.
- To suggest ways of dealing with the problem of poverty in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is important for the following reasons:
- It will create awareness to the public about success or failure of the problem.
- It is hoped that this project will enable government to evaluate its performance with the view of proffering solution.
- It will also serve as a reference material to students who will wish to carry out research on the topic.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
The study focused on Akwa Ibom State. It was believed that poverty has really eaten deep into the Nigeria system. As such this study was aimed at proffering solutions through mechanism of poverty Alleviation programme and to examine the different poverty alleviation schemes initiated by the NDE and to access it’s result till date. The major limitation of this work is insufficient finance and time.
- ORGANISATION OF STUDY
This work is divided into five chapters. The first chapter focuses on the introduction and reasons or objectives of embarking on the research. Chapter two is review of related literature and the theoretical base of the research. Chapter three focuses on the origin, areas of intervention of NDE, organizational structure, NDE’s job generating strategies, achievement, causes of poverty and problems of poverty alleviation programmes. Chapter four deals with the presentation and analysis of data. Chapter five is concerned with summary, conclusion and recommendations.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Certain terms as used in this study require explanation for the purpose of clarity. These include:
- Poverty: Poverty is defined as a way of life characterized by low calorie intake, inaccessibility to adequate health facility, low quality educational system, low life expectancy, high infant mortality, low income, unemployment and underemployment and inaccessibility to various housing and societal facilities.
- Poverty Alleviation: is the process by which the socio-economic and political status of the hitherto poor and defined are seen to have meaningfully transformed or reasonably improved.
- Standard of Living: refers to the degree in which the basic necessities of life is accessible, affordable constant and available to the majority of the people.
- Programmes: A plan of things that will be done or included in the development of something. A list of performers or things to be performed at a concert, a theatre, a sports competition etc. it is a statement by a political party of the improvements it intends to make in government offered especially at a time of a national election.
- Eradication: To destroy or get rid of something completely. And to put an end to something bad.
- Improvement: It means to make better than the existing status quo.
- Strategy: The act of planning or skill in managing any affair