Mensur Boydaş: Nigeria


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Mensur Boydaş: Nigeria

  2. 2. 1. INTRODUCTION The problem of development has occupied the attention of scholars, activists, politicians, development workers, local and international organizations for many years with an increased tempo in the last decade. Even though there are different perspectives to development, there is a general consensus that development will lead to good change manifested in increased capacity of people to have control over material assets, intellectual resources and ideology; and obtain physical necessities of life (food, clothing & shelter), employment, equality, participation in government, political and economic independence, adequate education, gender equality, sustainable development and peace. This is why some people have argued that the purpose of development is to improve people's lives by expanding their choices, freedom and dignity. However, the reality of the world is that many countries are underdeveloped with precarious development indices. More than 1.2 billion people or about 20 percent of world population live survive on less that US $1 per day. Wealth is concentrated in the hand of a few people. The UNDP in its 1998 report documented that the three richest people in the world have assets that exceed the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 48 least developed countries. Similarly, the 1000 richest people in the world have personal wealth greater than 500 million people in the least developed countries.i Nigeria, which was one of the richest 50 countries in the early 1970s, has retrogressed to become one of the 25 poorest countries at the threshold of the twenty first century. It is ironic that Nigeria is the sixth largest exporter of oil and at the same time host the third largest number of poor people after China and India. Statistics show that the incidence of poverty using the rate of US $1 per day increased from 28.1 percent in 1980 to 46.3 percent in 1985 and declined to 42.7 percent in 1992 but increased again to 65.6 percent in 1996. The incidence increased to 69.2 percent in 1997. The 2004 report by the National Planning Commission indicates that poverty has decreased to 54.4 percent. Nigeria fares very poorly in all development indices. The average annual percentage growth of GDP in Nigeria from 1990 -2000 was 2.4. This is very poor when compared to Ghana (4.3) and Egypt (4.6). Poverty in Nigeria is in the midst of plenty. Although there has been steady economic growth in the last few years, there are doubts whether the benefits are evenly distributed especially to the poor and excluded. Nigeria is among the 20 countries in the world with the widest gap between the rich and the poor. The Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income (or in some cases consumption expenditure) among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Gini index of zero represents perfect equality while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality. Nigeria has one of the highest Gini index in the world. The Gini index for Nigeria is 50.6. This compares poorly with other countries such as India (37.8), Jamaica (37.9), Mauritania (37.3) and Rwanda (28.9). 2
  3. 3. 2. THE MDGs In order to address the problem of poverty and promote sustainable development, the United Nations Millennium Declaration was adopted in September 2000 at the largest ever gathering of heads of heads of States committing countries both rich and poor to do all they can to eradicate poverty, promote human dignity and equality and achieve peace, democracy and environmental stability. The goals include those dedicated to eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. The eight main targets, using 1990 as a baseline, are: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2015 target Halve proportion of people living on less than $1 a day, and those suffering hunger 2. Achieve Universal Basic Education 2015 target Achieve universal primary completion 3. Promote Gender equality 2005/2015 target Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education enrolment by 2005, and achieve equity at all levels by 2015 4. Reduce Child Mortality 2015 target Reduce by two thirds the child mortality rate 5. Improve maternal health 2015 target Reduce by three quarters the proportion of women dying in childbirth 6. Combat AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases 2015 target Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of HIV-AIDS, malaria and other major diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources 2015 target reduce by half the proportion of people without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation By 2020 achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development There are no measurables, but goal 8 commits north and south to working together to achieve an open, rule-based trading and financial system, more generous aid to countries committed to poverty reduction, and relief for the debt problems of developing countries. It draws attention to the problems of the least developed countries and of landlocked countries and small island developing states, which have greater difficulty competing in the global economy. 3
  4. 4. It is important to point out that there are limitations of utilizing the MDGs as a framework for delivering or measuring development.ii First, they risk simplifying what development is about, by restricting the goals to what is measurable. Many aspects of development cannot be easily measured. Secondly, some of the goals are very modest e.g. the goal to half the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day by 2015 and the target to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. Finally, some of the targets do not address the problems holistically. For instance, the MDG on education talks only of a full course of primary schooling with no reference to secondary and tertiary education. Despite the limitations mentioned above, it is necessary for us to engage the MDGs for many reasons. First, the MDGs draw together in a single agenda issues that require priority to address the development question. Secondly, the MDGs have received tremendous endorsement and backing by world’s governments. Thirdly, the MDGs have the advantage being more or less measurable, few in number, concentrated on human development and focused almost on a single date-2015. Another advantage of the MDGs is that it adds urgency and transparency to international development. Finally, explicit resource commitments have been made to achieve the MDGs. 3. THE SITUATION IN NIGERIA The situation of MDG in Nigeria can be seen from two main sources: the Nigeria MDG report 2004 and the Nigeria MDG report 2005. We can also assess the situation from MDG office especially the Debt Relief Gains as provided in the 2006 annual budget. The 2004 report which was Nigeria’s first report on the MDGs states that “based on available information it is unlikely that the country will be able to meet most of the goals by 2015 especially the goals related to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child and maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases”iii It further states that “for most of the other goals (i.e apart from goal 1) up- to- date data exists which shows that if the current trend continues, it will be difficult for the country to achieve the MDG targets by 2015”.iv The Nigeria Millennium Development Goals 2005 report is the second in the series of annual reports on the MDGs in Nigeria. The report which addressed the eight MDGs highlights the current status and trends of each of the MDGs, the challenges and opportunities in attaining the goal, the promising initiatives that are creating a supportive environment and priorities for development assistance. The report concluded that: There is high potential to attain some of the Millennium Development Targets namely, Achieving universal primary education Ensuring environmental stability Developing a global partnership for development 4
  5. 5. Given the current policy environment and strong political will, there is also the likelihood of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. However, based on available information, there is the need for sustained efforts to ensure that the country meets the following goals by year 2015: Achieving gender equality and women empowerment Reducing child mortality Improving maternal health; and Combating HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseasesv The conclusion of the MDG 2005 report is very remarkable and gives hope that there is possibility for achieving all the MDGs in Nigeria with sustained effort. This conclusion is quite different from the conclusions reached by the first report in 2004. It is intriguing that without providing the basis and reason for the dramatic change, the 2005 states that there is high potential to achieve 3 of the goals (Goals 2,7 and 8) likelihood to achieve one with strong political will(Goal 1) and the need for sustained efforts to ensure that the country meets the remaining four goals(Goals 3,4,5, and 6). The details of the situation in Nigeria as captured in the 2005 MDG report with regard to each of the goals is shown below: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (2015 target Halve proportion of people living on less than $1 a day, and those suffering hunger): The current rate of reduction in poverty is too slow to meet the targets set for 2015. if the current rate of poverty reduction is maintained, poverty incidence would reduce to 43 percent as opposed to 21.4 percent by 2015. 2. Achieve Universal Basic Education (2015 target Achieve universal primary completion): The efficiency of primary education has improved over the years, as the primary six completion rate increased steadily from 65 percent in 1998 to 83 percent in 2001. It however declined in 2002 only to shoot up to 94 percent in 2003. Literacy level in the country has steadily and gradually deteriorated, especially within the 15 -24 years group. By 1999, the overall literacy rate had declined to 64.1 percent from 71.9 percent in 1991. The trend was in the same direction for male and female members of the 15-24 years age bracket. Among the male, the rate declined from 81.35 percent in 1991 to 69.8 percent in 1999. The decline among the female was from 62.49 percent to 59.3 percent during the same period. 3. Promote Gender equality (2005/2015 target Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education enrolment by 2005, and achieve equity at all levels by 2015): At the primary school level, enrolment has been consistently higher for boys (56 percent) than for girls (44 percent). 4. Reduce Child Mortality (2015 target Reduce by two thirds the child mortality rate): Infant mortality rate was 91 per 1000 live births in 1990 which later declined to 75 in 1999 but became worse in 2003. It rose to 100 per 1000 live births in 2003. 5
  6. 6. 5. Improve maternal health (2015 target Reduce by three quarters the proportion of women dying in childbirth): The 1999 multiple indicator cluster survey reported a maternal mortality rate of 704 per 100,000 live births. The maternal mortality is more than twice as high in the rural areas. The report did not give comparative statistics. 6. Combat AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases (2015 target Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of HIV-AIDS, malaria and other major diseases): Since the identification of the first HIV/AIDS case in mid 1980s, the HIV prevalence rate has continually been on the increase from 1.8 to 5.8 percent in the period between 1991 and 2001. In 2003, the rate decreased to 5.0 percent and in 2005, it decreased to 4.4 percent. 7. Ensure environmental sustainability (Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources 2015 target reduce by half the proportion of people without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation By 2020 achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers): The country is endowed with abundant environmental resources. However, high population growth rate and increasing demand for these resources threaten environmental sustainability. The environmental situation is challenged by myriad of problems, which impact negatively on the utilization of the resources for development and poverty alleviation. 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development (Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources 2015 target reduce by half the proportion of people without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation By 2020 achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers): The level of Official Development Assistance is increasing but still very low. The problem of market access for products of developing countries including Nigeria still persists. A review of the Nigeria Millennium Development Goals 2005 report will reveal a number of problems. We shall focus on only three of them. First, there is the challenge of accurate, reliable, credible and believable statistics. The draft of the first Nigeria MDG progress report prepared by NISER stated that at the primary school level “by 2002, the gender ratio was 1:04 in favour of girls’ vi. This was seriously criticized by CSOs as not reflecting reality. When the final report came out, it stated that “at the primary school level, the gender ratio increased from 0.76 in 1990 to 0.78 in 1995 and 0.96 in 2000” vii The statistics had changed. In the past two and a half decade, statistics in Nigeria have always indicated increasing levels of poverty over the past two and a half decades from 28.1% in 1980 to 65.6% in 1996 (MDG Report ,2004). In the early 2000s, there were many estimates that poverty rate was above 70%. But President Obasanjo has always insisted without any study that the poverty level was much lower. Expectedly, 6
  7. 7. when the NPC conducted a survey in 2004, the poverty level was put at 54.4%. Before this report was released the 2004 MDG report stated that “it is unlikely that the country will be able to meet most of the goals by 2015 especially the goals related to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger”. After the release of the report, the 2005 MDG report stated that “given the current policy environment and strong political will, there is also the likelihood of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger’ p.viii. The second problem with the report is that it is development assistance focused. The 2005 MDG report highlights the status of the MDGs, the challenges, opportunities and priorities for development assistance. This is not surprising for development strategy planning in Nigeria has been essentially external focused. According to the Nigerian draft interim poverty reduction strategy paper prepared in November, 2001 (the precursor of NEEDS), Nigeria has embarked on preparing its own PRSP as a requirement for concessional assistance from its development partners abroad, including the World Bank, the IMF, the bilateral donors and other sources of such assistance. Given the importance of the subject and the tight timetable, the Nigerian authorities fully recognize the need to move forward expeditiously to the timely completion of the countries PRSP of which this interim PRSP (IPRSP) is the preliminary step.viii The final drawback of the report that we will like to point out is that the report did not indicate the policies and practices that need to change to attain the goals. Meanwhile, scholars and agencies have documented what needs to be done to tackle poverty and achieve the MDGs. In this review, we shall outline the recommendations of three agencies: the World Bank, UNDP and ActionAid International. The World Bank in its 2001 report titled Attacking poverty points out that “physical capital was not enough, and that at least as important were health and education” and proposed a strategy for attacking poverty in three waysix: 1. Promoting opportunity  Encouraging effective private investment  Expanding into international markets  Building the assets of poor people  Addressing asset inequalities across gender, ethnic, racial and social divides  Getting infrastructure and knowledge to poor area-rural and urban 2. Facilitating Empowerment  Laying the political and legal basis for inclusive development  Creating public administration that foster growth and equity  Promoting inclusive decentralization and community development  Promoting gender equity  Tracking social barriers 3. Enhancing Security  Formulating a modular approach to helping poor people manage risk 7
  8. 8.     Developing national programs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to macro shocks-financial and natural Designing national systems of social risk management that are also pro-growth Addressing civil conflict Tackling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic The UNDP in its Human Development report of 2003 titled Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to end Human Poverty pointed out that to achieve the MDGs require policy responses to structural constraints on several fronts along with stepped up external support.x The report recommended six policy clusters to help countries break out of their poverty traps: 1. Invest early and ambitiously in basic education and health while fostering gender equity. These are preconditions to sustained economic growth. Growth in turn can generate employment and raise incomes- feeding back into further gains in education and health gains. 2. Increase the productivity of small farmers in unfavourable environmentsthat is, the majority of the world’s hungry people. A reliable estimate is that 70 percent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture. 3. Improve basic infrastructure- such as ports, roads, power and communications- to reduce the costs of doing business and overcome geographic barriers. 4. Develop an industrial development policy that nurtures entrepreneurial activity and helps diversify the economy away from dependence on primary commodity exports- with an active role for small scale and medium size enterprises. 5. Promote democratic governance and human rights to remove discrimination, secure social justice and promote well being of all people. 6. Ensure environmental sustainability and sound urban management so that development improvements are long term. ActionAid International in its report titled Changing Course: Alternative Approaches to Achieve Millennium Development Goals and Fight HIV/AIDs shows that there is a yawning gap between MGD needs and spending realities in poor countries and that macroeconomic policies enforced by the IMF block poor countries from being able to spend more on education, health and economic development.xi The report argued that for the MDGs to be achieved, the world must start to change course now and adopt at local, national and international levels alternative economic policies that allow for much higher long-term public investments in health, education and development. 6. CAN NIGERIA MEET THE GOALS? The question of whether Nigeria can or cannot meet the MDGs is a crucial one that should agitate the minds of politicians, government bureaucrats, civil society 8
  9. 9. activists and development workers. In our view, there is no straightforward answer. It can be answered either in the negative or the affirmative. The NEEDS document clearly states that “if present trend continues, the country is not likely to meet the Millennium Development Goals.”xii On the other hand, the 2005 report gives the conditions for meeting the goals: strong political will and sustained efforts. Perhaps, a better way to frame the question is what can Nigeria do to meet the MDGs in 2015?. In our view, Nigeria has sufficient resources to meet the MDGs in 2015. But for this to happen, as argued above, the country will have to change course in the conceptualization and implementation of policies and programmes to achieve the MDGs. One good initiative in Nigeria designed to meet the MDGs is the Oversight of Public Expenditure in Nigeria (OPEN) set up to monitor the Debt Relief Gain(DRG). Two issues make this initiative unique. The first is the leadership of the process which has been participatory, open, transparent and all inclusive with participation of private sector and civil society. The second and perhaps most important is that systems have been put in place to track resources. This is perhaps the model that should become the norm in every ministry, department and agency at all levels of government. It must be however be recognized that development is a complex issue and goes beyond allocation of Debt Relief Gains to some MDG Ministries. A scholar once argued that development requires growth and structural change, some measure of distributive equity, modernization in social and cultural attitudes, a degree of political transformation and stability, an improvement in health and education so that population growth stabilizes, and an increase in urban living and employment.xiii In our view, social transformation will require good change and progress in the following areas: Transparency and accountability: Several analysis of the challenges of development in Nigeria has identified lack of transparency and accountability as a major obstacle. Accountants in Nigeria have a great role to play in this regard. They must change the way auditing is done from financial auditing of certifying payments and receipts to systems auditing and examining the whole concept of value for money. Otherwise, accountants and auditors will just be certifying corruption. Tackling institutional constraints: To deliver services to the people require effective and efficient institutions that follow due process and standards. Pro-Poor Growth: It is clear that there has been economic growth in Nigeria in the last few years above 5 percent. But economic growth alone cannot lead to achievement of the MDGs unless the growth is pro-poor. As President Obasanjo said, “We must not continue to stress the pursuit of a high growth rate in statistical terms and fail to reduce the social and economic deprivation of a substantial number and group of our people. We must not absolutely pursue wealth and growth at the expense of inner well being, joy, satisfaction, fulfillment and contentment of human beings.”xiv 9
  10. 10. Structural Change: To achieve the MDGs in Nigeria, there is the need to change the structure of the economy in such a way that the economy is not dependent on only one product but diversified economy and expanding the industrial sector. Distributive Equity: Deliberate efforts and policies must be put in place to redistribute income. The MDGs will be meet if the poor and excluded in society are empowered to meet their basic needs. Social and cultural Re-orientation: There is the need for social and cultural re-orientation to meet some of the goals. For instance, the goals on women and girls require a new kind of mindset to achieve them. Political Transformation: The political system and the way it engenders commitment, participation and patriotism by the people contributes immensely to national cohesion, peace and stability and development. Human Development: Development implies the fulfillment of basic human needs including those for education and health. Urban Development: The growth of urbanization is definitely increasing and there will probably be more people in urban areas than rural areas by 2015. There must be urban development process that is inclusive and not based on dislocation of slum dwellers without alternatives. Employment: Employment is the surest way of achieving the MDGs because individuals will receive income and will contribute to the economy. Transformation of Power Relations: Whenever power is concentrated in the hands of a few, they will utilise such powers to accumulate wealth. To achieve the MDGs will require transformation of power relations and challenge of patriarchy. Partnership with development partners: It has been documented that in order to make adequate progress towards achieving the MDGs, Nigeria will require additional external financing averaging about US $6.4 billion annually between 2005 and 2008.xv Even if the resources in the country are used effectively there will still be challenges in meeting the MDGs. Meanwhile, Nigeria is seriously underaided. Nigeria receives only US $2 per capita in ODA compared to the average for Africa of US $28 per capita. In addition, meeting the MDGs will require partnership between government, the public sector and the private sector. In particular, it will require transformists from the public sector, civil society, media and private sector to build a critical movement of people advocating for and implementing change. CONCLUSION The problem of development is a global challenge and the MDGs is a response by world leaders. There are limitations to utilizing the MDGs as a framework for delivering or measuring development. But they provide a platform to engage the development process. The situation in Nigeria indicates that there are challenges in meeting the goals by 2015. For Nigeria to meet the goals in 2015, there is the need to formulate and implement policies that will promote transparency and 10
  11. 11. accountability; overcome institutional constraints; promote pro-poor growth; bring about structural change; enhance distributive equity; engender social and cultural re-orientation; engineer political transformation; promote human development; practice inclusive urban development; generate employment and transform power relations. ENDNOTES i Shetty, Salil (2005), Millenium Declaration and Development Goals: Opportunities for Human Rights in International Journal on Human Rights, Year 2, Number 2. ii Abani, C., Igbuzor, O. and Moru, J. ( 2005), Attaining the Millenium Development Goals in Nigeria: Indicative Progress and a Call for Action. In Moru, J. (Ed), Another Nigeria is Possible: Proceedings of the First Nigeria Social Forum. Abuja, Nigeria Social Forum. iii Millenium Development Goals Report 2004 p. iv iv Ibid p. v v Nigeria Millenium Development Goals 2005 Report. vi Millenium Development Goals 2004 Draft Report p.26 vii Ibid p.23 viii Nigeria Interim PRSP November, 2001 ix World Bank (2001), World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty. N.Y., Oxford University Press Inc. x UNDP (2003), Human Development Report 2003-Millenium Development Goals: A Compact among Nations to end Human Poverty. New York, Oxford University Press xi ActionAid International (2005), Changing Course: Alternative approaches to Achieve the Millenium Development Goals and Fight HIV/AIDS xii National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) (2004). Abuja, National Planning Commission. xiii Kambhampati, U. S. (2004), Development and the Developing World. USA, Blackwell Publishing Inc. xiv Olusegun Obasnjo (2003) Quoted in NEEDS xv Country Partnership Strategy (2005). World Bank Group and Department for International Development (UK) 11