Poverty reduction remains one of the main goals of development efforts, as evidenced by the adoption of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by most developing countries and international agencies, Nigeria inclusive. This research work was carried out to the assess the performance of millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria with Enugu North Local Government Area as the case study. The project seeks to address why previous development programmes in Nigeria failed and the measures that could be taken to correct the mistakes of the past.
1.1BACKGROUND AND NEED OF THE STUDY
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction are two concepts that are familiar to us in Nigeria.
Poverty reduction has been the concern of every responsive and responsible government at every level. Despite the increase in the total amount of funds available in Nigeria since independence in 1960s, its positive impact has not been felt by the people especially the rural dwellers.
The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social science’s literature is replete with attempt by the Economist and other social scientists to conceptualized the phenomenon. Poverty has economic, social and political ramifications. The poor are mentally deprived, socially alienated and politically excommunicated. Basically, poverty has been conceptualize 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 skills and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions. (Ajakaiye and Adeyeye 2001 in Gbosi, 2004).
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 66.5% in 1996 (FOS 1999). From 1980 – 1990, 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 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.
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.
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 poverty eradication and alleviation programmes.
The Government of Nigeria over the years, in a bid to reduce poverty initiated the following programmes;
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 People Bank of Nigeria in 1989
d. The Better Life Programme (BLP)
e. The Family Support Programme (FSP)
f. National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA)
g. The Nomadic and Adult Education Programme established in 1986.
h. Agricultural Development Programme (A.D.P).
And most recently, with the return to democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government of Nigeria 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;
i. Youth Empowerment Scheme, Rural Infrastructure and Development Scheme.
ii. Social Welfare Service Scheme
iii. Rural Resources Development and
iv. Conservation Scheme
Again, another remarkable achievement was made in the year 2000 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme was born. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was aimed at reducing poverty and also to encourage development in the World, Nigeria inclusive.
In September 2000 the United Nations Unanimously adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It was an eight (8) goal agenda that all 193 member states of United Nations and at least 23 International Organizations agreed to adopt.
In 2000, the International Community acknowledged that it is a duty to recognize the fundamental rights of those who are being excluded from the benefit of progress. At the United Nations Assembly, all countries committed themselves to a world agenda that would tackle the most evident factors of poverty and injustice. They set out eight goals, they set out twenty one targets, they set timelines, they allocated funds: and in order to verify if hey were being honest within their commitments, they set a number of indicators upon which they asked to be judged. And for the first time in the world history, a concrete work agenda for the rights and voiceless was universally agreed.
The Millennium Development Goals today provide a framework for the United Nation System and for Synergizing the various international cooperation activities in a coherent worldwide effort.
In Nigeria, the Millennium Development Goals has given life, hope etc to the poor by providing; better health care centers, schools, gender equality, eradicating poverty etc. Below are the Eight Millennium Development Goals of United Nations;
1. Eradicate extreme Poverty and hunger
2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal Health
6. Combat HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure Environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development.
The Millennium Development Goals, focused on efforts of the world community in achieving significant, measure able improvement in peoples live by the year 2015.
This study is aimed at, Assessing the performance of Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria with specific reference to Enugu North Locals Government Area of Enugu State.
In the government circle, performance assessment is a view or evaluation of one’s performance based on agreed set objectives of the government. The importance attached to performance assessment by the government indicates that it is a systematic and objective approach of judging the relative worth of any given project the government embarks on.
However, this research will seek among other things, assess the performance of millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction, know the impact of the programmes on the people of Enugu North local government area and if it is been implemented in line with United Nations standard.
As we go on in subsequent chapters, further critical look shall be taken on the Assessment of the performance of millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction in Enugu North local government.
1.2STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The researchers want to clearly state here that this research work is studying “The Assessment of Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria:, a case study of Enugu North Local Government Area in Enugu State.
Today, poverty and under development are widely addressed as National problems. Poverty affects over 92% of Nigerians (NBS 2012). 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 40-50 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. A review of 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 and national development has proved to be the most difficult challenges facing less developed countries (Nigerians inclusive) where most of the people live in absolute poverty with lack of infrastructures on ground.
However, the government has continued to respond in order ameliorate the worsening conditions of the poor by shifting public expenditures towards poverty eradication.
Different 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 Obasenjo 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.
Data has it that the office of Millennium Development Goals released N8.2 billion to the former Director General of National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) headed by Dr. Magnus Kpakol in addition to the N11.8 billion budgetary allocation, N4 billions for the procurement of Keke Napep, N10 billion from state governments and commercial banks and multi-partnership programmes. This totals to N34 billion. (Daily Champion, Wed. Feb 18 2009 pg 7).
The rate of unemployment, poor infrastructures has continued to rise and the poverty situation has exacerbated. As a matter of fact, the need arises to take a careful look at the issues of poverty and infrastructural development in Nigeria, coming against the background of continuing efforts on the part of the government to address it, if about N30 billion has been gathered for poverty eradication in 12 years 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 have ordinarily be reduced.
However, in order not to pre-empt the out-come of this study, this study is aimed at assessing the performance of millennium Development Goals and other poverty reduction programmes, and how they affect negatively or positively the generality of the lives in Enugu North local government from 2000 till date.
1.3OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Broadly, the objective of this study is to Assess the Performance of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria. Though this study uses Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State as a case study.
The specific objective include:
i. To access whether Millennium Development Goals and Poverty reduction schemes have achieved their objectives of poverty eradication in Nigeria in line with the United Nations aims and objectives.
ii. To identify areas of deficiencies, problems and failures and proffer some policy recommendations based on the findings of this study