POVERTY REDUCTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
Poverty is a global phenomenon which affects continents, nations, and people differently. It affects people in various depths and levels at different times and phases of existence. There is no nation that is absolutely free from poverty. The main difference is the intensity and prevalence of this phenomenon (Akeredolu, 2005). Nations in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America are currently with the highest level of poverty and consequently with the lowest level of socioeconomic development, frequent violence, excessive degree of unrest and low standard of living (World Bank, 1996).
However, the high level of poverty in Nigeria, which has attained an endemic nature, is becoming worrisome (Aluko, 1995). Poverty has made Nigeria to attain an undesirable status as one of the poorest countries in the world (Anyawu, 2007), such that no government, organization, community or family can survive effectively without introducing one kind of poverty reduction strategy or the other. Nigeria has not been known to lack in such efforts; yet she is still ranked among the world’s 25 poorest nations (World Bank, 2002).
In the same way, political instability, corruption, tribalism and absence of good governance witnessed in Nigeria over the years subjected the various poverty alleviation initiatives in the country to uncertainty (Edozien, 2010). Whenever new regime emerged, it will discontinue or abandon the previous government policies on poverty alleviation irrespective of the successes recorded. No Nigerian Government, be it military or civilian administration has come and gone without introducing one form of poverty alleviation programme meant to reduce the level of poverty in the country. Policies and plans have been articulated; programmes and projects have been formulated and executed over the years, but still the prevalence of poverty persists in Nigeria. Indeed, there is no gainsaying about the fact that the formulation and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes are part of the important process of democratic governance in modern nation-state like Nigeria, with a desire for socioeconomic development and desire for the provision of the needed dividends of democracy towards enhancing poverty reduction and national security (Anyawu, 2007). In fact, the fate of many policy programmes for poverty alleviation has been callous, haphazard and insincere in their implementation as a result of the perennial political instability as well as lack of patriotic leaders and managers to execute the programme judiciously (Ekong, 2000).
For instance, from Nigerian independence in 1960 to date, poverty alleviation efforts in Nigeria centred on food production, employment generation, empowerment, skills acquisition education and self-reliant all with the aim of fighting poverty in the country. These programmes comprise of Farm Settlement Option, Rural Banking Scheme (RBS), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), the Green Revolution, Agricultural Development Projects (ADP), National Fadama Development Programme (NFDP), The National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), People’s Bank of Nigeria (PBN), Community Banks, Directorate of Food Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DIFFRI). Others include Nigerian Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Economic Empowerment Development Scheme (NEEDS), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), Better Life for Rural Women, Family Support Programme (FSP), SURE-P Programme, N-Power Programme etc. (Uniamikogbo, 1997).
These programmes were all put in place during the tenure of the past and present governments in Nigeria. It is against this background that the paper will examine the previous and current programmes on poverty alleviation in order to study the impact as well as the challenges of implementing the programmes in Nigeria so as to yield a sustainable development.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Poverty in Nigeria is a serious phenomenon, it affects the general population of the country. The problem is so endemic to the extent that Nigeria became one of the poorest countries in the world. This has necessitated the introduction of several poverty alleviation programmes by the government to properly address the issue and better the living standard of the populace. The poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria, which aimed at combating and alleviating poverty, have been found not to be successful. Therefore, the study examines the previous and current programmes on poverty alleviation in order to study the impact as well as the challenges of implementing the programmes in Nigeria.
Over the last ten years poverty has been very real in Nigeria and quality of the average Nigerian citizen has progressively nosedived. It is so endemic in Nigeria that people have started seeing it as part of their lot in life. It is at the backdrop of this that this study is set to examine the impact of poverty reduction programmes as it is geared towards bringing sustainable development in Nigeria. This study therefore addresses some specific questions as outlined below: What factor is responsible for high level of poverty in Nigeria? What has been the impact of various poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria? Will Nigeria really reduce poverty going by the current situation in the country?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to evaluate poverty reduction and sustainable development in Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to;
i. To examine the impact of poverty reduction programmes on sustainable development in Nigeria.
ii. To evaluate the relationship between poverty reduction and sustainable development.
iii. To analyse the impact of poverty reduction programmes on the Nigerian populace.
iv. To explore the problems hindering the effective implementation of poverty reduction programmes in the country.
1.4 Research Questions
i. Is there a significant impact of poverty reduction programmes on sustainable development in Nigeria?
ii. Is there a relationship between poverty reduction and sustainable development?
iii. What is the impact of poverty reduction programmes on the Nigerian populace?
iv. Are there problems hindering the effective implementation of poverty reduction programmes in the country?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: There is no significant impact of poverty reduction programmes on sustainable development in Nigeria.
Hi: There is a significant impact of poverty reduction programmes on sustainable development in Nigeria.
H0: There is no significant relationship between poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between poverty reduction and sustainable development.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The essence of any meaningful research work lies in its significance and usefulness to humanity. This study will provide a conceptual framework for comprehending the issue of poverty and also provide a firsthand information to be used by policy makers administrators, social welfare agencies etc. in effort to reduce poverty. Secondly, it would be valuable to the academia and provoke more or continuants research work and analysis of poverty in or/its effect on human development. This work shall provide or suggest reasonable solution that will assist relevant agencies saddled with the responsibility of reduction of poverty as one of the pivots towards achieving the millennium development goals and sustainable development in Nigeria in particular and Africa at large.
Finally, this study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study on poverty reduction and sustainable development in Nigeria will be conducted in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Limitations of study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Poverty: Poverty is a condition in which an individual or group of individuals are unable to meet their basic material needs such as foods, potable drinking water, clothing, shelter, basic health care, education, lack of participation in the prevailing social standard of living, dignity and having limited chance of advancing their welfare just to the limit of their capabilities (Marshal, 1998). Similarly, according to a World Bank Report (1999), the meaning of poverty comprises of hunger, lack of shelter, sickness, illiteracy, joblessness, uncertainty, high mortality rate, disease, polluted environment, powerlessness and lack of freedom.
Poverty Alleviation: Poverty Alleviation is the process which seeks to reduce the level of poverty in a community or state (Ajaakaiye and Olomola, 1999).
Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals, whereby the current generations have a moral obligation to provide essential needs for sustainable living conditions to their future generations i.e. their own children and their grandchildren (Todaro, 1985).
Poverty Reduction: Poverty reduction, or poverty alleviation, is a set of measures, both economic and humanitarian, that are intended to permanently lift people out of poverty.
Development: This is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components.
Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.