POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME AS A STRATEGY OF IMPROVING NIGERIAN ECONOMY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Poverty is a huge global human concern that, together with environmental threats, weighs heavily on our planet and the future of human society. Poverty has been a prominent research and development topic in recent years at both the local and global levels.
The operations of the Centre for African Settlement Studies and Development (CASSAD) (see Onibokun et al,1995) may best capture the local situation, while those of the World Bank accurately represent the international global scenario.
Poverty is viewed in many ways as an illness (such as Aids) that everyone fears and is looking for a method to escape. Many wish to pretend or ignore its presence, and few want to seriously debate it.
While a smaller percentage would like to commit to extremely concrete initiatives that go beyond expressions of pity or altruistic gestures. It inflicts such catastrophic human sorrow on its victims that it is quite tempting to turn the other cheek in order to avoid the agony of witnessing fellow human beings in such conditions.
true poverty emerges when distortions become so severe that people, groups, and countries lose their ability to adapt, change, and survive, such as when populations in oil-producing areas are displaced by pollution,
when increasing population reduces fallow periods, destroying the land and population, or when pronounced rural-urban migration undermines the provision of infrastructural facilities in urban areas, making all residents poorer as a result. (1972 Nigeria Economic Society Annual Conference).
Poverty is a multifaceted phenomena with no single, universally accepted definition. It has economic components that centre around the nature and degree of material deprivation that afflicts the poor and differentiates them from non-poor people.
This deprivation manifests itself as poor income or consumption, a lack of fundamental physical necessities of life, a lack of possessions, and other geographical or objective disadvantages.
Poverty has a social dimension that manifests as social inferiority, low status, loss of dignity or self-esteem, insecurity, vulnerability, and marginalisation.
Poverty is related with powerlessness, exclusion from decision-making, dehumanisation, and denial of basic natural and democratic rights in political terms. All of these aspects tend to reinforce one another.
Poverty is directly linked to a scarcity of some critical resources (Onibukun et al); it frequently results from an enduring harsh and unfriendly climate, but it is more often than not caused by a collapse of the economic, demographic, ecological, cultural, and social systems.
Poverty has been identified as a global societal issue that must be addressed if the world is to be compassionate, fair, and just. Poverty and underdevelopment are no longer inevitable and should not be accepted, and elimination is a practical option, according to the Human Development Report (1996).
However, the following factors can be identified as causes of poverty: rapid and unchecked urbanisation in recent decades, economic development processes, particularly the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), inadequacies, and a lack of participation and collaboration by the public and private sectors.
Poverty is too complex to have a one-dimensional solution or strategy because it is produced by a variety of reasons; no single instrument will serve to eliminate it.
The fight against poverty must be waged on multiple fronts (both concurrently and sequentially), with various methods and tools. The way we conceptualise poverty has profound ramifications for how we approach the problem in terms of explanations and solutions.
Despite multiple initiatives to alleviate poverty, one questions if these efforts have had any positive results. As a result, this paper will attempt to examine the current government's efforts to alleviate poverty and raise Nigerians' standard of living.
Concerns about rising poverty levels, particularly in developing countries, and the need for poverty alleviation as a means of raising people's living standards have led to the conceptualization and implementation of various targeted
and non-targeted poverty alleviation programmes around the world. In Nigeria, both the Nigerian government and donor agencies have been involved in efforts to examine and solve the country's poverty problem.
Government projects and agencies aimed at alleviating poverty include:
Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure Directorate (DFFRI) National Employment Directorate (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 thus be based on the efforts of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to alleviate poverty in Nigeria, with a special focus on Akwa Ibom State.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since the late 1970s and early 1980s oil glut, Nigeria's monolithic economy has been in a shambles. During the same time period, the country's population grew steadily. As a result, people's quality of life and standard of living are degrading.
The majority of the poor, as well as the government, are concerned about this scenario. The situation does not fit well with the government's assessment of the economy's performance, which is based on the average citizen's level of life.
The concept of organised society is based on the state's ability to deliver the most happiness to the largest number of people. Despite this attitude, life in Nigeria has not been uplifting for the majority of people.
Unemployment in our economy had been worrying, and with an increase in crime rate, the vast majority of the people had found it difficult to make ends meet. As a result, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) was founded in 1986 to execute the following functions:
Create and implement anti-unemployment programmes.
Clearly articulate policies targeted at promoting labor-intensive work programmes.
Address employment issues in both the short and long term by developing and implementing job creation and work-related training initiatives.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the study's primary goals:
Determine the extent to which the National Directorate of Employment's continuous poverty alleviation programme has been successful.
To assess recent poverty alleviation initiatives in Nigeria.
To make recommendations for addressing Nigeria's poverty crisis.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant for the following reasons:
It will raise public awareness of the problem's success or failure.
It is envisaged that this project would allow the government to analyse its performance in order to provide a solution.
It will also act as a resource for students who wish to conduct research on the subject.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The research concentrated on Akwa Ibom State. Poverty was seen to have eaten deeply into the Nigerian system. As such, the purpose of this study was to provide answers through the mechanism of the Poverty Alleviation Programme, as well as to review the various poverty alleviation projects undertaken by the NDE and to access the results to date. The main restriction of this undertaking is a lack of funds and time.
ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
There are five chapters in this work. The first chapter focuses on the introduction and the reasons or goals for doing the research. The second chapter includes a survey of related literature and the theoretical foundation of the investigation.
The third chapter focuses on the origin, areas of intervention of NDE, organisational structure, NDE's job-creation tactics, achievement, causes of poverty,
and challenges with poverty-relief schemes. The fourth chapter is about data display and analysis. The fifth chapter is focused with the summary, conclusion, and recommendations.
DEFINITION OF THE TERMS
Certain concepts used in this study need to be defined for clarity's sake. These are some examples:
Poverty is defined as a way of life marked by low calorie intake, lack of access to adequate health care, a poor educational system, a low life expectancy, high infant mortality, low income, unemployment and underemployment, and lack of access to various housing and societal facilities.
Poverty Alleviation: the process by which the socioeconomic and political condition of the previously impoverished and defined is perceived to have been meaningfully transformed or reasonably improved.
The degree to which the basic essentials of life are accessible, inexpensive, consistent, and available to the majority of people is referred to as the standard of living.
Programmes: A list of tasks that will be completed or included in the creation of something. A list of artists or things to be performed at a concert, a theatre, a sporting event, etc. It is a statement made by a political party about the changes it intends to make in government, especially during a national election.
Eradication: To entirely destroy or eliminate something. And to put an end to a horrible situation.
To improve implies to make anything better than the current state of affairs.
Strategy: The act of planning or skill in the management of any matter.