Role Of Local Government In Economic Development Of Nigeria

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Role Of Local Government In Economic Development Of Nigeria


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the role of local government in Economic development with a view to finding out its impact on grassroots/Economic development. The study was conducted in Aba North Local government and its constituent communities. The study has three main objectives which were specifically to; to determine the nature of local government administration, to determine the nature of development in local government administration and to determine the role of local government in economic development. The study was anchored on the “system theory” of David Easton. The theory argues that in every system, which includes political system, there are subsystems making up the entire system. These subsystems are assigned functions and provided with enabling empowerment, including resources, appropriate authority, etc. to enable them discharge their responsibilities optimally. The method adopted in this study is a survey and descriptive analysis, which provided general impressions, summary of observations and findings made from the data collected. The methodology provided tools for the analysis of the role of local government on grassroots economic development with Aba North Local government area as case study, This research work strongly advocates autonomy for local governments in such a way and manner that enhances its performance of constitutional and ancillary roles. Local governments should strive to raise and maintain revenue that would enable her deliver projects and services that guarantee quality living to the grassroots. This has the potency of reducing the incidence of rural-urban drift. As a corollary, local governments should be more people-centred in approach, such that necessary collaboration/partnership with communities in its domain can facilitate the process economic development.


Chapter One


Introduction

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the 1976 Local Government Reforms, explained Local Government as follows: “Local Government is Government at Local level exercised through representative councils established by Law to exercise specific power within defined areas” (Government print: 1976). The United Nations Office for Public Administration explained Local Government as: “A political division of a nation (in a Federal or State system) which is constituted by Law and has substantial control of Local affairs including the power to impose taxes to exact labor for prescribed purposes.

W. A. Robson, in the Encyclopedia of the Social Services, defines Local Government as involving:

“The conception of a territorial, non-sovereign community possessing the legal right and the necessary organ to regulate its own affairs.

This, in turn, presupposes the existence of a Local authority with the power to act independently of external control as well as the participation of the local community in the administration of its affairs”.

The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition (1978), volume 17, defines Local Government as: “a political subdivision of national government or in the case of Federal Systems, a subdivision of regional Government”.

The New Columbia Encyclopedia (4th Ed.), defines it as the: “sub-political administration of the smallest sub-divisions of a country’s territory and population. Ugwu (2002) defines Local Government as “the lowest unit of administration to whose laws and regulations communities who live in a defined geographical area and with common social and political ties are subject. Though these definitions may tend to vary, yet they expose features characteristic of Local Government, among which are that:

  1. Local Government is government at the local level;
  2. It has its autonomous existence and endowed with a legal status;
  3. Specific powers are reserved for it;
  4. It can impose taxes and incur expenses;
  5. It exists within a defined territory;
  6. It is seen as a distinct tier of Government;
  7. It must provide authority over a given population;
  8. It must provide avenues for the promotion of the welfare of the members of the community;
  9. It comprises elected members, such as chairmen and councilors.

1.1 Background of the Study

The local government, were created so as to enable the Federal and state government exercise effective control and development of the Economic communities.

Hence, among the effective role of the local government (Anaocha local government) is the provision of two way communication channel between the local communities and the central government through the mobilization of human and material resources at the grass root.

The implication of the above is that the concept of Economic as well as national development depends on the effective local government leaderships and administration for its success (Ngwu 1980) It also, implies that effective local government is required for the planning, preparation and submission of the proposal for funding and initiation of any meaningful development project in Nigeria, this goes a long way to validate the assertion made by Agu (2001) that effective and efficient leadership and administration of the local government is required for the sustenance and utilization of development project in any nation. Hence the studies of Ezike (1998:45) and Hassan (1999:66) revealed that effective implement of development project are contingent on strong leadership of the local government area, particular at the planning stage.

In Economic as well as national development, the understanding of the local power structure is capable of enhancing or impeding the implementation of development project. In addition local government (Anaocha) leadership is always required for the genuine involvement of the people at the grass root in any development project or activities of the government.

However, the local government (Anaocha) had actually in fulfilling their roles due to both financial as well as political problem. According to Williams (1998-50) most local government in Nigeria suffer from inadequate financial resources, this was recently known as zero accusation. Anaocha local government was vastly affected by this zero allocation epidemic and this affected a great number of developmental activities including the payment of its staff. Consequently, the available fund was not appropriately used due to the frustrating effort of the local government authority effort of the local government authority which was as a result of mismanagement. The local government in some cases suffers from over-staffing to the extent that most of its recourses are spent on the payment of staff salaries. The research seek to appraise the role of local government in Economic Development.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Local government is the third tier government established to bring the presence of government nearer to the people at the grass root, with the aim of providing some basic functions or needs of life such as, food, shelter, job opportunities primary b health service, primary education, by roads, market and so on. But contrary to expectations, the local governments have noticeable failed in their constitutional responsibilities. They are generally classified as been unproductive (President Oluegun Obasanjo in his address to the nation on the reasons behind the current local government reform: 2003. Stated that this current reform is one of the major reforms previously done on the local government system in Nigeria, with their sole objective of reforming the local government system to be effective and efficient , responsive and objective. The local government is faced with a number of problems.

  • The problem of lack of productivity in the local government.
  • The problem of unemployment and low incomes for target group.
  • Lack of improved qualities in the basic needs of life- food, shelter, job opportunities health service, education etc.
  • Inability of the local government council to ensures that the poorer section of the population has some share in the fruits of economic activities. Lack of social services and economic growth. Therefore the problem confronting this research is to investigate the role of local government in economic development.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. To determine the nature of local government administration
  2. To determine the nature of development in local government administration
  3. To determine the role of local government in economic development

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the nature of Local government Administration?
  2. What is the nature of Economic development in local government Administration?
  3. What is the role of local government in Economic development

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study shall provide a framework of the nature of local government administration and its role in the determination of economic development.

It seek to further draw attention of all stakeholders comprising of the federal government, state government etc to the significance of the local government with a view to Assisting it overcome its numerous challenges towards the attainment of economic development


1.6 Statement of Hypothesis

  1. Ho The level of Economic Development is Low
    Hi The level of Economic Development is high
  2. Ho The problem confronting local government is low
    Hi The problem confronting local government is high
  3. Ho The role of local government in economic development is not effective
    Hi The role of local government in economic development is effective

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study focuses on the appraisal of the role of local government in economic development.


1.8 Definition of Terms

The following terms have been defined for the purpose of this study.

Local Government:

This is government at a local level exercised through representative council established by laws toe exercise specific functions with in a defined area

Empowerment:

Empowerment is a process by which individuals and groups gain power, access resources and gain control over their own lives. It enables them to gain the ability to achieve their highest personal and collective aspirations and goals.

Furthermore, the methodology of the study is logical argumentation.

Development:

Development is a multidimensional process involving a re-organizational and re-orientation of the entire economic system in addition to improve income and outcome. Its typically involves radical changes in institution social as well popular attitude and sometimes even customers and belief.

Council:

This refers to the organ the constitute representation of people either elected or nominated

Economic Development:

This economic development embraces improvement in standard of living and per capital income but also high level of employment reducing inflation adequate food high infrastructures stressing values rather than achievement.

Objectives:

These are end result to which an organization or government activity directed objectives are hierarchical in nature are determined to formulate by top management of an organization after economic social & political force affecting the organization have been apprized.

Programmes:

This consists of essentially integrated series of development projects that spans over a length of time.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to examine the role of local government in Economic development with a view to finding out its impact on grassroots/Economic development. The study was conducted in Aba North Local government and its constituent communities. The study has three main objectives which were specifically to; to determine the nature of local government administration, to determine the nature of development in local government administration and to determine the role of local government in economic development.

The study was anchored on the “system theory” of David Easton. The theory argues that in every system, which includes political system, there are subsystems making up the entire system. These subsystems are assigned functions and provided with enabling empowerment, including resources, appropriate authority, etc. to enable them discharge their responsibilities optimally.

The method adopted in this study is a survey and descriptive analysis, which provided general impressions, summary of observations and findings made from the data collected. The methodology provided tools for the analysis of the role of local government on grassroots economic development with Aba North Local government area as case study.


5.2 Conclusion

Generally, it could be seen that Aba North local government has not been effective in the development of Economic communities. It conclusion reveals that Economic development are in adequately carried out in the local government area. For instance, with exception of the local government headquarters and few other communities are not electrified and the possibilities of embarking on these projects are very remote. This has slowed down some other projects like cottage industries, pipe-borne water in equally in short supply in the local government area. The council has not performed well in the provision of medical facilities as most of the communities in the riverine areas travels far for medical services.

The council has performed below expectation in the provision and maintenance of primary schools in the area, in some communities pupils provide their own desks with which to sit and learn, the council fails to utilize its manpower in carrying out projects rather prefer the use of contractors who gives kickbacks. Finance is the bedrock of every business and government, it evident that the council lacks the seriousness in the pursuance of internally generated revenue relying mostly the Federal and State allocation which are not enough even pay worker’s salaries.


5.3 Recommendations

From the findings, I discovered that lack of seriousness on the part of the Aba North local government revenue collection worker’s, dishonesty of revenue officials, inadequate vehicles and boats for revenue drive among others contribute to low internally generated revenue in the local government.

We therefore recommend that effort should be made by the council to revive revenue drive in the council and reward dedicated and honest staff. There is also need to procure additional vehicles and boats to help revenue personnel to discharge their duty efficiently and effectively. We recommend that the council should use direct labor in executing of projects rather than the use of contractors, money paid to contractors can be channeled into other developmental projects in the area.

There need for the council to procure tractors and fertilizers that will help the farmers in their production, and also bridge communities that are close with concrete bridge rather than wood walkways which will not last for a long period of time.

The local government should focus more on developing Aba north by good roads, Housing, electricity and waste management as it has the best commercial center in Abia State.

The present situation whereby development is concentrated in the local government headquarters to utter neglect of the Economic communities does not give the other communities a sense of belonging. A change is required in this regard.

It important for the Federal and State to review the allocation of local governments, because the provision of primary education and health facilities will be improved upon when there is better allocation from the Federal and
State governments.

This research work strongly advocates autonomy for local governments in such a way and manner that enhances its performance of constitutional and ancillary roles.

Local governments should strive to raise and maintain revenue that would enable her deliver projects and services that guarantee quality living to the grassroots. This has the potency of reducing the incidence of rural-urban drift.
As a corollary, local governments should be more people-centred in approach, such that necessary collaboration/partnership with communities in its domain can facilitate the process economic development.


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