PROJECT TOPIC- STRATEGIES FOR GROWTH-LED POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Poverty is one of the most serious problems in Nigeria today. Despite the various efforts of governments from independence to date, poverty among the people of Nigeria has been on the increase. Statistical data available indicate that by 1960, the poverty level in Nigeria covers about 15 percent of the population and by 1980, it grew to 28 percent. In 1985, the poverty level was 46 percent and it dropped to 43 percent by 1992 (World Bank, 1986).
By 1996, the Federal Office of Statistics (F.O.S.) estimated the poverty level in Nigeria at about 66 percent and there are number of real indications to show that current poverty level has gone higher (Alcanji, 2000).
However, the description of Nigeria as a paradox by the World Bank (1996) has continued to be confirmed by events and official statistics in the country. The paradox is that the poverty level in Nigeria contradicts the country’s immense wealth. Among other things, the country is enormously endowed with human, agricultural, petroleum, gas and large untapped solid mineral resources.
Particularly worrisome is that the country earned over US$300b from one resource – petroleum, during the last three decades of the twentieth century. But rather than record remarkable progress in national socio-economic development, Nigeria retrogressed to become one of the 25 poorest countries at the threshold of twenty-first century whereas she was among the richest 50 in the early 1970’s.
However, official statistics also reveals that in 1980, the national poverty incidence was 28.1 percent of the population. The distribution of the incidence across the states of the federation showed a maximum of 49.5 percent recorded for Plateau and Nassarawa states. This meant that every state had a poverty incidence below 50 percent. As at 2000, the incidence of poverty was believed to have risen to 70 percent at the national level.
Thus, the concept of poverty is never viewed in the same light by any two individual because, everybody addresses it from different perspective. As such, its concept is varied due to the relative nature of the subject. For this reason, attempts at poverty alleviation have been misplaced right from the conception stage as a result of the lack of a precise definition.
Subsequently, the increasing incidence of poverty both within and among locations was high in spite of various resources and efforts exerted of poverty-related programmes and schemes in the country, thus, suggesting that the programmes and schemes were ineffective and ineffectual.
In the light of the present government’s deep concern for the widespread and scourging poverty, this research work, therefore, reviews previous and current strategies at poverty alleviation in Nigeria.
PROJECT TOPIC- STRATEGIES FOR GROWTH-LED POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN NIGERIA
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The starting point in determining poverty is the specification of the poverty-line or a consumption pattern or norms regarded as basic or minimum for which anybody who falls below the line is considered poor, while those above the line are regarded as non-poor. It must be accepted right from the onset, that it is very difficult to construct a poverty line or specify a minimum consumption requirement. This is because, the translation of minimum nutritional needs into minimum food requirements borders on the choice of commodities while the non-food minimum requirement are not easy to specify.
However, previous studies, Alderman and Paxson (1992), Deaton (19920 show that the minimum consumption requirement should be based on income, whereas others argue that societal value should be used for poverty assessment.
All these studies were carried out using a specific economic and policy tool. Thus, the problem of poverty arises from the fact that the subject enquiry is multi-dimensional which not only considers the absolute but also the relative position of its subjects vis-à-vis societal norms. Therefore, there are conceptual issues of who is poor? But what standard is the poverty? These questions present relativity problems.
Other problems are identification issues and what tools to use in ascertaining the level of poverty both in absolute and relative terms and the strategies to be adopted in alleviating poverty in Nigeria. The strategies for growth-led poverty alleviation in Nigeria raises the fundamental problem of what constitutes absolute poverty and the question of whether Nigeria is as poor as international reports would want us to believe. All these pose confusion and contradiction, hence, the need to investigate on all these important topics.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This research is wholly undertaken to examine the strategies for alleviating poverty level in Nigeria.
After a thorough analysis, one should be able to know the economic benefit of adopting those strategies and subsequently, its negative impacts. Specifically, the research will work towards the following cardinal objectives.
- To identify various strategies (past and current) for alleviating poverty in Nigeria.
- To verify various yardsticks for poverty alleviation strategies.
- To examine the inherent problems confronting the poverty alleviation strategies in Nigeria.
- To critically evaluate how far, the poverty alleviation strategies have achieved economic growth.
- To make recommendations based on the findings.
1.4 HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY
In view of the problems associated with poverty in Nigeria, the importance of alleviating it through various strategies cannot be over emphasized. This brings about the following hypothesis:
H0: The National Poverty Alleviation Programme (N.A.P.A.P) has not significantly reduced poverty in Nigeria.
H0: The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Directorate of Food, Road and the Rural Infrastructure, (DFRI), and National Directorate of Employment, (NDE) are not Growth-led poverty alleviation strategies.
Ho: The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, (NEEDS) is not a Growth-led poverty alleviation strategy.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is important because
- It will guide the governments in policy formulation and implementation on poverty.
- It will help future researchers in carrying out more research on the subject matter.
- It will increase the volume of literature on poverty.
- The study will also expose some of the strategies adopted for alleviating poverty and access if they are growth-led strategies or not.
- The study will equally suggest possible solutions on how to formulate and implement growth-led strategies for alleviating poverty.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This research work concentrates on the strategies for growth-led poverty alleviation in Nigeria from independence to date.
The limitations of the study include the following:
Time Constraint: The time required for this study is just not enough. This is because the research work is being done at the same time when serious academic work goes on in school.
Financial Constraint: Limited funds posed a serious problem to the study. This manifested in the form of high transportation cost, high cost of typing and photocopying and other expenses.
Data Constraint: The research is further constrained by the reluctant attitude of government officials in releasing relevant data for the study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Poverty; This describes the level of deprivation that encompasses a shortfall and serious inadequacies in basic human needs which prevent people from achieving internationally acceptable levels of well-being, a situation of not having access to a conducive environment and the facilities and opportunities of decent living (World Development Report, 1990).
- Relative Poverty; This relates to the condition of individual, household, group or community under consideration to some reference standard or parameter, such as the average for the group or region, a target standard or objective or its ranking on a given criteria. (Ukwu, 2002).
- Absolute Poverty; It denotes a condition in which a person or group of persons are unable to satisfy their most basic and elementary requirements of human survival in terms of good nutrition, clothing, shelter, footwear, energy, transport, health, education and recreation.
- Poverty Line: This can be defined as the monetary cost to a given person, at a given place and time, of a reference level of welfare. People who do not attain that level are deemed poor, and those who do are non-poor.
- The Food Component: The food component of the poverty line is almost universally anchored on nutritional requirements for good health.
- The Human Development Index (HDI): This index focuses on human development. It incorporates income and non-income according to UNDP, 1990, and involves three factors – longevity, knowledge and income. Generally, the index is specified as: HDI = f(u, lit, eo,).