This research titled “Impact of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) on rural dwellers in Esan West Local Government area, Edo State” is aimed at revealing the level of success recorded by NAPEP in Nigeria. Three research objectives were raised and two hypotheses were formulated. The research objectives are to expose the extent to which NAPEP has impacted on rural dwellers in accessing credit facilities in Esan West Local Government Area, show how NAPEP has made impacted on rural residents terns of skills acquisition in Esan West Local Government Area, and unearth the impact NAPEP has made on rural inhabitants in relation to employment in Esan West Local Government Area. The sample size was 400 respondents selected through a purposive sampling technique. The research made use of both primary and secondary sources of gathering information. The simple percentage was used to analyze respondents’ opinions while Pearson correlation coefficient was used to test and analyze the hypotheses. The research findings revealed that the National Poverty Eradication Programme did not significantly improve the degree of credit facilities accessed by the rural populace of Esan West Local Government Area, the National Poverty Eradication Programme did not positively enhance the level of skills acquired by the rural dweller in Esan West Local Government Area, and the National Poverty Eradication Programme did not appreciably improve the height of employment among the rural residents in Esan West Local Government. The recommendations of this research study is that government should provide more vocational training centres ‘] while the existing ones should be equipped and properly maintained. Also Small and medium scale enterprises should be given adequate attention by the government as this will enhance capacity programmes from the grass root so as to expose the youth to basic technological knowhow which will help them become self reliant and self employed to avoid social vices such as armed robbery, prostitution, alcoholism, cultism, internet fraud, based on the finding of this research, study, the National Poverty Eradication programme (NAPEP) has not facilities, skill acquisition and employment in Esan west local government area of Edo state.
1.1 Background to the Study
Poverty is apparently a worldwide phenomenon. Continents across the globe have poverty as one of the all-time challenges they persistently strive to grapple with. There is no country on earth irrespective of her heights of socio-political and economic development that does not have an iota of poverty indices such as hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, financial predicament and so on. According to Lewu (N.D) the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 2006) and the World Bank 1999 reported that more than one billion people or one-fifth of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. It is however pertinent to mention that in spite of the universal nature of poverty, there are observable variations in its intensity among continents, countries, and people all over the world. This implies that poverty afflicts people in various depths and degrees at different times and phases of their existence. That is why poverty levels are systematically measured by setting poverty lines so as to unravel its variations among countries. Ravallion (2010) explains that an important distinction [of poverty] is between absolute and relative lines. Absolute lines aim to measure the cost of certain “basic needs,” which are often interpreted as physiological needs for human survival such as nutritional requirements for good health and normal activity levels. By contrast, relative lines do not claim to represent physiological needs but are instead (typically) set at a constant proportion of current mean income or consumption. Absolute lines are common in developing countries while relative lines tend to dominate in developed countries. Alpha, Otaida, and Audu (2014) posit that nations in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America are currently with the highest level of poverty and consequently with the lowest level of socio-economic development and generally unacceptable low standard of living.
In Nigeria, povert as reached astronomical height with it attendant degrading and dehumanizing consequence on the citizens. (1988 cites by francis, 2001). It is argued that poverty which pre-existed colonialism was inherited by Nigeria at independence from British imperialists. (Francis 2001). The people of Nigeria in pre-colonial period exchange what they produced for what needed through traden barter.
This ability to meet their needs was limited to the quantity of their production. During the colonial era, there was self-sufficiency in food but per capita income and social services were low. FOS (1999). The oil boom of between 1973 and 1980 brought mixed blessings to Nigeria. The increased revenue was diverted to develop infrastructure, and social services while increase in wages especially in non-agricultural sectors and per capita income had serious adverse consequences on the agricultural sector leading to a drastic fall (from 60% in 1960 to 31% in early 1980s) in the contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (FOS 1997). Consequently, Nigeria became a net importer of food. Hence, when oil prices began to fall in 1982, the welfare system was affected, per capita income and private consumption dropped. That marked the beginning of real poverty in Nigeria (Lewu, undated). Citing the World Bank (2012) Anumudu, Umar, and Madu (2013) contend that Nigeria at independence in 1960 was having a minimal poverty level in which just about 15% of her population was poor but today the country is struggling to bring it down from about 71% which is the current level of poverty besetting her whooping population that is approximately 162million. Alluding to the World Bank (1995) Muhammad (2012) opines that a notable aspect of poverty in Nigeria is that the poor are often concentrated in communities without basic services. These basic services include roads, potable water supply and safe sanitation. They also generally lack access to health and education services. Poor households in Nigeria are characterized by lacking in basic education, residing in rural areas, engaging in farming, and having large household size with most adult members, including the household head unemployed.
The quest for poverty reduction has gained international attention. Lewu (undated) asserts that in recognition of the global magnitude of poverty, the United Nations declared 1996 as the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. This renewed the attention of the international (development) community on poverty reduction. Policies and programmes that would improve incomes and standard of living of the poor were emphasized. She further explains that the Nigerian government has recognized the prevalence of poverty among its people, especially in the rural areas which is about 6.4 million out of the 10 million extremely poor Nigerians. Since 1960, successive Nigerian governments have attempted to alleviate poverty among Nigerians through various sectoral programmes in agriculture, health, transport, housing and financial sectors. Some multi-sectoral programmes were also introduced. Critics however observed that despite the robustness of their set objectives, these poverty reduction programmes did not justify the enormous funds expended to implement them judging by their negligible achievements. Examples of such programmes include: improvement of education for intellectual, economic, and technological advancement in 1960s; National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP) in 1972; Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) in 1976; Green Revolution in 1979; Go Back to Land and War Against Indiscipline (WAI) between 1983-1985; Directorate of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Nigerian Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and the Better Life for Rural Women between 1985-1993; the Family Support Programme (FSP) and Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) between 1994-1999; and Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) in 2000 before the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) was instituted.
NAPEP which is the focus of this study was initiated in 2001 to take over from Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP). The objective of NAPEP is to eradicate absolute poverty through a coordinated implementation and monitoring of programmmes of four schemes; the Youth Empowerment Schemes; Rural Infrastructure Development Schemes; Social Welfare Services Schemes; and National Resources Development and Conservation Schemes. These Schemes were to be implemented at all levels of government. NAPEP has established structures at all levels nationwide. Under its Capacity Acquisition Programme (CAP), it trained 100,000 unemployed youths just as 5,000 others who received training as tailors and fashion designers were resettled. A total of 50,000 unemployed graduates have also benefited from NAPEP’s Mandatory Attachment Programme, which is also an aspect of CAP (NAPEP, December, 2002 cited by Muhammad, 2012). But according to a 2008 analysis, the program has been able to train 130,000 youths and engaged 216,000 persons, but most of the beneficiaries were non-poor [and perhaps not even the rural dwellers who are beaten most terribly by the torrents of poverty in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that this study is directed towards assessing the impact of NAPEP on rural dwellers in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Poverty is a ravaging monster in Nigeria. It has been a serious threat to the country’s existence. That is why the issue of poverty incessantly attracts the attention of policy makers in successive regimes. Over the years, a lot of poverty alleviation programmes have been initiated by the Government to enhance the quality of life of Nigerians. Some of these programmes were mainly directed towards the rural areas where the largest number of the nation’s population inhabits. Generally, these programmes did not satisfactorily meet their specified objectives since they have not been able to significantly reduce the poverty of many Nigerians particularly the rural dwellers. The cardinal agenda of these programmes have always been specifically tailored to improve the rural residents’ access to credit facilities, skills acquisition, employment, and other factors that will translate to good standard of living. Nevertheless, findings in the assessment of the various poverty alleviation programmes by previous researchers indicate that they have only produced limited success. For instance, Hadiza (2005) explained that the Micro Finance Development Funds was one of the poverty alleviation programmes set up to eradicate poverty through the provision of affordable and dependable financial assistance through the provision of credit facilities. This was designed to empower the poor rural dwellers to embark on various small scale enterprises. Despite the viable role this poverty alleviation programme was supposed to play in empowering and eventually raising the rural dwellers’ standard of living, most people in the Nigerian rural areas could not have access to the promised credit facilities let alone establishing their own business ventures.
In the same vein, NAPEP which was put in place by the Federal Government in 2001 have been implemented virtually across the states and local governments of the federation. In Esan West Local Government Area, it is speculated that NAPEP produced minimal results. This implies that the rural residents have no doubt benefited from the programme in some ways but the level to which they have benefited is yet uncertain. Therefore, the major research problem of this study is to investigate the extent to which NAPEP has impacted on the rural people of Esan West Local Government Area in terms of their access to credit facilities, skills acquisition, and employment from 2001 to 2005.
To give this research a suitable bearing the following questions are put forward. (a) To what extent has Poverty Alleviation Programme (NAPEP) opened the rural dwellers’ access to credit facilities in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State?
(b) How far has Poverty Alleviation Programme (NAPEP) impacted on the rural inhabitants in terms of skills acquisition in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State?
(c) What level of impact has poverty alleviation programme (NAPEP) made on the employment of rural residents in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to reveal the fundamental Nature of National Poverty Eradication Progamme (NAPEP. The specific objectives include the following:
(a) To expose the extent to which poverty alleviation programme (NAPEP) has impacted on the rural dwellers in accessing credit facilities in Esan West Local Government Area.
(b) To expose the extent to which (NAPEP) has impacted the rural dwellers in accessing credit facilities in Esan West Local Government Area.
(c) To show how (NAPEP) has impacted on rural residents in terms of shills skills acquisition in Esan West Local Government Area.
(d) To unearth the impact NAPEP has made on the rural inhabitants in relation to employment in Esan West Local Government Area in Edo State.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses are postulated for testing.
(a) NAPEP has significant relationship between access to credit facilities by rural dwellers in Esan West Local Government Area and poverty eradication.
(b)There is no significant relationship between skills acquisition by rural residents in Esan West Local Government Area and poverty eradication.
(c)There is a significant relationship between the employment of the rural inhabitants in Esan West Local Government Area and poverty eradication.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This investigation will provide valuable hints that can serve as veritable guides for policy and decision makers on the ways to make policies, decisions, and draw up programmes involving complex issues such as poverty reduction in the country.
The disclosures that will arise from the subject matter of assessing the impact of poverty alleviation programme particularly NAPEP will supplement existing literature.
The findings in this research will be an addition to the overall field of knowledge plus provide foundations for more research.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The ultimate focus of this investigation is the assessment of the impact of national poverty alleviation programme specifically NAPEP in Nigeria. This study is strictly restricted to the poor rural dwellers. The study location is Esan West Local Government Area situated in Edo State of Nigeria. The period covered spans from 2001 to 2005.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
There are diverse limitations encountered in this study. Some of the respondents were unwilling to receive the questionnaires owing to their general lack of interest to participate in research. The ones that collected questionnaires delayed in filling them and thereby giving the researcher the hassles of going incessantly to persuade them. Consequently, extra energy, time, and money were spent on the course of carrying out this investigation.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The concepts itemized below are clarified according to how they are used in this study.
(a) Credit Facilities: These comprise soft loans received by the poor rural dwellers to serve as initial capital to kick start their chosen business enterprises.
(b) Skills Acquisition: This is the expertise or talent an individual obtains after undergoing training in a particular vocation such as tailoring.
(c) Employment: This entails a condition of being hired by another person or engaged by oneself to perform certain services for a definite reward which is mainly in monetary terms.
(d) Assessment: It involves the evaluation of an observable occurrence with the purpose of obtaining and analyzing certain facts that will lead to its improvement for common welfare.
(e) Poverty: This is a situation whereby an individual or a community’s standard of living is very low and its indicators are unemployment, malnutrition, and lots more.
(f) Poverty Alleviation: These are deliberate attempts or efforts geared towards the enhancement of an individual or a community’s standard of living.
(g) Programme: It is a plan or an agenda put in place to tackle challenges especially the ones that are of public significance.
(h) Impact: These are the positive and negative outcomes of a specific programme such as “poverty alleviation” on the lives of the target population.
1.9 Organization of the Study
This thesis will be divided into five chapters. Chapter one focus on the introduction. Embracing background to the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, conceptual clarifications, organization of the study, and references. Chapter two cover review of related literature which deals with poverty, causes of poverty, effects of poverty, poverty alleviation or eradication, impact, impact assessment, nature and scale of poverty in Nigeria, NAPEP and its objectives, policy options and NAPEP’s objectives, theoretical framework, empirical review of impacts of NAPEP, and references. Chapter three contains the research methodology which consists of research design, method of data collection, statistical techniques for data analysis, validity and reliability of research instrument, population and sample of the study, sampling technique and reference. Chapter four is data presentation and analysis which encompasses return rate of questionnaires, social characteristics of respondents, frequency and percentage distribution of responses, and testing of hypotheses. Chapter five presents the summary of major findings, implications of study, contribution to knowledge, recommendations and conclusion.