Evaluation of Poverty Alleviation Programmes in selected Local Government areas of Osun State
Local government exists to fill the gap, which the national government is too remote to fill. This means that local governments complements and extends the national government. It has been recognized as one important instrument for economic development, rural development and for the delivery of social services development at the grassroots level. It is therefore charged with the outrageous problem of poverty and its alleviation.
In Nigeria, local government as the third tier of government nearest to the people has been recognized as an institution capable of transforming the rural area. Consequently, there have been continuous attempts to create new local governments or restructuring the existing ones in the country with the objective of utilizing them as fulcrums for achieving economic development through series of programs which poverty alleviation is basically part of.
There has been increasing upsurge of interest in the literature of development administration and in planning circles on the positive role local government play in poverty alleviation. The emphasis is in terms of using local government as a strategic instrument for fostering, promoting and implementing economic development projects for alleviating poverty.
1.1 GENERAL BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Absolute poverty has to do with living below whatever is defined as poverty line based on per capita income or consumption of individuals or households in a country. Successive governments have pursued different policy initiatives with a view to mitigating the problem. In spite of large scale investment committed to poverty alleviation programmes, >50% of Nigerians still live in relative poverty with over a third of the population languishing in extreme poverty.
The local government system is set up, at least in part, to help curtail the prevalence of poverty. The paper is aimed at an evaluation of to what extent this objective is being pursued and addressed by Nigerian local governments using some selected Local Governments in Osun State as case studies. People in Nigeria like others in other sub – Saharan Africa and South Asia remain the poorest in the world. In 1992 between 45 and 50% of the approximately 525 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria inclusive) were estimated to be living below poverty line. As once opined “The depth of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is typically higher than anywhere in the world” (World Bank, 1995a: 12-13). The picture is not different in Nigeria. The situation in Nigeria calls for more than mere formulation and execution of programmes and projects for poverty alleviations.
In a bid to overcome poverty, Governments initiated different policies and programmes since 1968 till date to alleviate it. These programmes include: Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI), Better Life Programme (BLP), Directorate of Employment (NDE); People’ Bank of Nigeria (PBN); Community Bank (CB); Family Support Programme (FSP); Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP); Poverty Eradication Programme (PEP); National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP); and National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (O YES) whose aim were to ameliorate the suffering of the people by providing them employment opportunities and access to credit facilities to enable them establish their own businesses. All these programmes are done in the respective Local Governments though control by the National Government and some by State Government.
The study identified a whole gamut of factors militating against local governments contributing as they should to the issue of poverty alleviation; also examine the severity, spread and depth of poverty in the local governments. Therefore calls for deliberate conscious and well-focused efforts to poverty alleviation.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The creation of local government by the federal or state government is to bring government closer to the people and also foster the development of the local citizenry. To this, he must look for every means possible to alleviate poverty within his domain. The broad objective of the research is to;
- To take a look at the possible solutions to Poverty in the selected Nigerian Local Governments.
- To also know the people’s opinion on poverty alleviation and the ways with which the Local and State Government can partake in the various poverty alleviation programmes.
- To establish and access the impact of the previous poverty alleviation programmes in the selected Local Government Areas.
1.3 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
From statistics, the country has between 61-80% of its total population living below 1 Dollars per day although more severe in the North than in the South. Also, the State of Osun is known to be one of the poorest in the country which habitate the selected Local Government areas under study.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is significant as it attempt to consider the various ways of with which different government use to alleviate poverty in their jurisdiction and most especially the selected local governments. Aside this, the study will also enable us to identify the problems militating against the various poverty alleviation programmes, particularly in the selected Local Government Areas of Osun State.
1.5 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The researcher faced some limitations in undertaking this study, notably in the areas of data collection, the distance of the research areas to each other, etc. Some of these problems are as follows;
The researcher was constraint by time as time frame for the submission of this research was short for an expansive research.
The unwillingness of most of the selected Local Government area staff to supply the needed data was another major problem.
Furthermore, financial resources are another major constraint during the course of the research.
Another very important problem faced during the course of this research is transport which really affected the researcher’s mobility due to the distance between the selected Local Governments
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following constitute research questions for this study which include the following:–
- What are the efforts made by the selected Local and State Government to reduce poverty in their areas?
- What are the impacts of poverty and its alleviation in Nigeria?
- Which from comparison is the best way to alleviate poverty in the selected Local Government areas?
- What is the performance of the government towards alleviating poverty?