An Assessment Of The Impact Of Poverty Reduction Programmes In Nigeria As A Development Strategy

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An Assessment Of The Impact Of Poverty Reduction Programmes In Nigeria As A Development Strategy


This study assessed the impact of poverty reduction programmes as a development strategy in Nigeria. The study first of all examined issues of poverty and underdevelopment in Nigeria, attributing it to lack of employment, high rate of illiteracy among the citizenry, poor infrastructure, inadequate access to micro credit facilities, mismanagement of public funds, bad governance, instability of the governments and its policies. The study also examined the efforts made by different governments in poverty alleviation within this period. A total number of 120 respondents were selected and administered with questionnaires, and their responses collated and analyzed. The chi-square statistical technique and percentages were used in analyzing the collated data, and testing of the research hypothesis. Results revealed that poverty alleviation initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria, since the 1970s till date have not significantly impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians, especially the poor; and has not led to the overall reduction of poverty in Nigeria. The findings of the research also seem to strongly suggest that Nigerians at the rural areas are more likely to associate with poverty alleviation programmes in which they participated in contributing ideas into the initial policy design stages of such programmes, which they will later consent to at the rural level. The study concluded by suggesting that for any meaningful development alleviation programmes must be properly packaged, such that government would go into partnership with the rural people, in order to make implementation easier and successful; thus engendering economic self sustenance, economic growth and development.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

In the case of Nigeria, the inability of successive governments to streamlined and harness the enormous potentials for improved service delivery in all the existing structures of poverty eradication has resulted into persistent poverty. The paper seeks to explore the extent to which public policies have affected the poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria with special emphasis on National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP). Poverty is a global phenomenon threatening the survival of humanity. With over one billion of the more than 6 billion world’s population in a state of abject poverty, it is now generally accepted that the dangers posed by poverty must be addressed. It is also the condition that exists when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs such as nutrition, housing, clothing and other essentials of life. As observed by the World Bank (1988) over a decade ago, poverty in developing countries is on the rise. The increasing and high level of poverty in developing countries (including Nigeria) has serious implications for the world economy. Hence, reducing poverty in developing countries has become the most persistent challenge facing the world today. Government, civil society, non-Governmental Organization (NGOs), and the international institution such as the World Bank are now in the forefront of the battle to reduce poverty in developing countries including Nigeria. In order to eradicate poverty in Nigeria, many programmes and projects have been designed to tackle poverty problems. These includes

  • Rural Basin Development Authorities (RBDA)
  • Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
  • Rural Electrification Scheme (RES)
  • National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
  • Directorate of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI)
  • Better life / Family Support Programme (FSP)
  • Rural Banking Scheme (RBS)
  • Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS)
  • Poverty Alleviation Programme
  • National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP)

Authors are divided as to the meaning of poverty and as those areas that should be classified as poverty stricken. This is because, those that are classified as being poor in one area or country may be equivalent with those classified as averagely better-off in another place. However, poverty generally means a state of being poor, that is, when necessary needs are not met. According to Pudley Jackson (1972), the problem in defining poverty is largely a cultural problem in determining what is, or what should count as, inadequate social functioning that are important or considered to be so, are being gainfully employed, maintaining a households and engaged in satisfying personal and social relationships. When these aspects of life are in jeopardy, a person or family may be considered to be in poverty, this however, poverty could be said to involve things more than economic i.e. it should also be viewed in terms of cultural, social, educational, religious perspectives. This is because, illiteracy breeds ignorance and any society characterized by ignorance will be unaware of their basic needs and improvement or development will be an elusive venture. A distinction should be made between a set of measurable objective conditions of material deprivation and set of subjective attitudes and beliefs related to material deprivation, in order to understand the wage of the term poverty.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The widespread nature of poverty worldwide has been generating great concern for policy makers and development analysts since the last few decades. In Nigeria, the trend of poverty incidence increased in a very high rate. In Nigeria 54 percent of people lived relatively below poverty line of 2/3 of per capita households’ expenditure, while 22% lived below the extreme relative poverty line of 1/3 of per capita household expenditure in the year 2004 NBS (National Bureau of Statistics). Some of the factors responsible for this lie in the nature of socio-political and economic structures, which alienate and exclude the poor from decisions affecting their welfare. Programmes are set up from the top with huge overheads, which favour contractors, consultants and the cronies of those in power.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. To investigate the issues and causes of poverty in Nigeria.
  2. To examine the poverty reduction strategies and its effectiveness in Nigerian.
  3. To investigate the impact of various poverty alleviation programmes of government on the lives of rural dwellers
  4. To examine the linkage between poverty alleviation programme, living conditions of the people and economic development

1.4 Research Questions

Therefore the questions, which this study will try to address, are:

  1. What are the key issues and causes of poverty in Nigeria?
  2. What are the poverty reduction strategies and their effectiveness in Nigerian?
  3. Are there positive impacts of various poverty alleviation programmes of government on the lives of Nigerian?
  4. What are the linkage between poverty alleviation programme, living conditions of the people and economic development in Nigeria?

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

  1. Ho: Unemployment and corruption are not the major cause of poverty in Nigeria
    Hi: Unemployment and corruption are the major cause of poverty in Nigeria
  2. Ho: Poverty can not be reduced in Nigeria
    Hi: Poverty can be reduced in Nigeria

1.6 Significance of the Study

Some of the significance of the study is that the study is generated by the statement of the study which can enrich the understanding of the causes of poverty in Nigeria.

The results of the study show that there have been not significant reductions in the level of poverty in Nigeria.

In addition, this study found a negative correlation between levels of poverty and economic growth thereby making it difficult for Nigeria to develop fast.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

This research work is limit due to some factors:

Time factor:

The time giving is too small for me to carry out the project work easily, although the research work was still carried out accurately.


This also restraints the researcher in carrying out this research work as being expected.

1.8 Scope of the Study

This project work is designed to cover every aspect that has to do with the causes of poverty in Nigeria within the context of Edo state. The scope of the study is therefore limited to Edo state in which data regarding the causes of poverty were gathered.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Absolute Poverty:

This refers to insufficient or total lack of necessities and facilities like food, housing, medical care, education, social and environmental services, consumer goods, recreational opportunities, neighbourhood amenities and transport facilities, etc.


This refers to Human development Index which is a measure of longevity, knowledge and income. Longevity is measured solely by life expectancy at birth, while knowledge is measured by adult literacy rate.

Indicators of Poverty:

Generally refer to measures of economic performance as well as the standard of living of the population. This normally combines the measures of income or purchasing power or consumption with those social indicators, which highlight availability and access to the basic necessities of life.


As will defined elsewhere, is a state where an individual is not able to cater adequately for his or her basic needs of food, clothing and shelter; is unable to meet social and economic obligations, lacks gainful employment, skills for self reliance, assets and self esteem; and has limited access to social and economic infrastructure.

Poverty Reduction:

Means all formal activities geared towards lowering the rate and prevalence of poverty in the country.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

This research study examined the fundamental problems of poverty and development in Nigeria. Attempts have been made to show that past and existing strategies have not adequately addressed the issues of poverty alleviation and development in Nigeria. Poverty alleviation is about how to reverse the poverty causing processes.

Consequently, poverty alleviation programmes ought to be specific. The study analyzed the remote and immediate causes of poverty in Nigeria and argues that poverty in Nigeria is prevalent and endemic. The causes identified include: lack of employment, inadequate access to such assets as land and capital, minimal access by the poor to credit facilities, lack of participation by the poor, failure to draw the poor into the design of development programmes and large scale corruption.

The study also revealed that although poverty alleviation initiatives have relatively impacted positively on the lives of the people especially the poor, such impact has been marginal and has not led to the overall reduction or the elimination of poverty thus bringing about development in Nigeria.

Major Findings

The findings of this study show that:

  1. Poverty is the cause of low standard of living in Nigeria.
  2. Unemployment and corruption are the major causes of poverty in Nigeria
  3. Prostitution; armed robbery, ritual killings and child trafficking in Nigeria are as a result of the high poverty level in the country.
  4. Most public policies targeted at poverty alleviation in Nigeria do not address the actual needs of the general populace.
  5. Political instability, intolerance and inconsistency of government policies are the setbacks that have hindered the efficacy of poverty alleviation programme of government in Nigeria.
  6. The various poverty alleviation programmes of the government has not made any significant impact on the people.

5.2 Conclusion

Despite the abundant human and natural resources available in Nigeria, majority of its citizens are extremely poor. The current estimate of people who live below the poverty line is higher than what was obtainable before the discovery of oil in Nigeria. Historically, the Nigerian poverty situation could be traced to the colonial educational system. The colonialists prepared the early-educated Nigerians for white colour jobs.

Therefore, poverty is on the increase in Nigeria and poverty trend could be traced to Nigeria’s colonial history. The oil boom of 1971 to 1973 improved the welfare of Nigerians and poverty declined. Also, there was an economic growth from 1985 to 1992, which led to a significant reduction in the number of poor people. However, the decline in incomes and welfare from 1993 was due to the reversal of government policies, which increased the percentage of poor people. Therefore, modest economic growth on its own can reduce poverty; while the reversal of government policies could aggravate poverty situations.

5.3 Recommendations

It is the candid belief of the researcher, based on the foregoing studies that:

  1. Government policy on poverty alleviation should follow a multi-sectoral approach where all the stakeholders are given specific roles to play.
  2. Government should determine how the intended beneficiaries are to be identified to ensure that the benefits reach them directly.
  3. Government should initiate a comprehensive method of sustaining the programmes over a specified period of time.
  4. The poor should be drawn into the design of programmes that affect them. Towards this, a Bottom Top approach should be adopted in the conceptualization and the design of poverty alleviation programmes.
  5. Poverty alleviation programmes should be packaged to cater for different vocations in different geographical zones. For instance, the riverine and arid areas should enjoy designed-to-type poverty alleviation programmes to enhance local people engaged in marine life and farming activities.

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