A HISTORY ANALYSIS OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (NEEDS) AND HER CONTRIBUTION TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN NIGERIA
National Economic Empowerment Development strategy (NEEDS) is described as a Nigeria’s plan for prosperity, popularly Christened a “Home grown programme” by the formal president of Nigeria Chief Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, it is a four years medium term plan for the period of 2003 to 2007.1 NEEDS is a Federal Government plan, which also expects the state and local governments to have their counterpart plan i.e State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS) and the Local Government Empowerment & Development Strategy (LEED) respectively. Since according Nwachuku development planning must be controlled and directed toward the desire goals.2 It is imperative for the federal government to include not all levels of government towards moving the same direction but sick all and sundry namely: the private sector, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public in cooperative activities in pursuit of developmental goals,.
However, like the previous development planning especially from the first attempt in 1946 and in the opinion of scholars like Rodney Obikeze and Obi,3 NEEDS as a plan contains all the envisaged policies and programme of the federal government. It is not only a macro-economic plan document, but also a comprehensive vision, goals and principles of a “New Nigeria” through re-enacting core Nigeria value like respect for the elders, honesty, accountability, corporation, industry, discipline, self confidence and moral courage. As established NEEDs document, “NEED” significantly want to eradicate poverty and promote self-reliance, entrepreneurship innovation, and rewards hard work. As rightly observed by the National Planning Commission and Central Bank of Nigeria 4 Thus, development plans is not understood in terms of economic development alone and so to scholars like Todaro and Rodney 5 it is multi dimensional.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Evaluating the present Government policy via its achievement of ‘NEEDs’ core objective seem to portrait the government no different from the .previous ones in ways and manner of pursuing and realizing the ideals of her development plan. However, this research work is designed to understand the imperative path to be followed by the federal government at achieving desired goals, and dissert the way it does things.
Osagie, however laments on this approach to economic analysis when he writes that:- “Ideological confusion and mystification encouraged by naïve ideologies have successfully diverted attention from real issues to peripheral and esoteric click-ridden polemics along narrowly focused dogmatic lines. This attitude to analysis of economic phenomena in Nigeria tends to produce simplistic solutions to problem which give the impression that either economist are unrealistic in their analysis.”6
Thus, the objective of this research work is to awaken the government of its weaknesses, because it is evident that the government has not achieved much of the professed objectives of NEEDs which are: employment generation, poverty reduction, wealth creation and value reorientation, in any significant measure in the medium term, if any thing, the impact has not been evident on the general well being of Nigerian.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work envisages to afford helpful background information to other researchers that would desire to source further in this sphere of study. However, this research is an incentive that provides an insight to academic and moral achievement of the reader to join the government in the nation building task, according to “jhingan” “one cannot expect economy and efficiency in administration unless the people posses high ethical and moral values.7 The importance also serves as an encouragement to the government to put more effort in promoting private enterprise, infrastructure, agriculture, industry and other sectors for the purpose of Nigerian security, international relation and economic development, since it is a prospect that you cannot isolate economy like Nigeria and be successful, thus Edegbe 8 in the Nation Newspaper asserted that Nigeria is a market that cannot be ignored with her size, population and culture. Therefore, more effort is needed by the government.
THE SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research will tackle the shortcomings of NEEDs from completely realizing its core goals and the efforts on Nigerians, since the welfare of the population is the ultimate evidence of development. This explains why Rodney sees development as a many sided process but defines it in relation to the individual. As he states, “at the level of individual it implies increased skills and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, responsibility and material well being.9 For the purpose of this research, it will cut-across those vital aspects of NEEDs policies, programs and implantation and make it profoundly improve on its key objectives of poverty eradication, wealth creation, employment generation and value re-orientation. The principal problems faced by the researcher include the following, recognition of the branches, broadness of this field as well as shortage of necessary materials, time constraint and financial predicament. Thus, it is also part of the task of NEEDs to provide a standard educational system to resolve the aforementioned limitations.
Due to the nature of this research, data would be collected through secondary sources with descriptive method. The mono-source nature of this research is as a result of some visible constraints that may form part of the factors in sourcing for primary data such as accessibility i.e NEEDs as a recent historical frame work has not being subject to archival installation, oral interview & questionnaire, but it embraces the scrutiny of all the available published journals, periodicals, Newspapers, magazines, and text books etc which are relevant records on NEEDs.
In reviewing the relevant literature, books, write ups and articles would be examined. One of such work is “NEEDs Challenges and Leeway” by Oche,10 he asserts that as an agenda for reform and a blue print for economic growth the NEEDs policy look towards ultimately reducing poverty and unemployment, and establishing gradual but steady progress towards the generation of wealth on a country wide basis. He further state that it has some of its intermediates goals, the redefinition of the government’s role in the national economy: the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector: improving the delivery of basic social services: investing the country’s greatest asset, its people, and ultimately laying a strong foundation for the future development of Nigeria human capital. The teleology NEEDS revolves around changing the prevailing value system in the society towards one of entrepreneurship, efficiency and selfless service.
Another work is “Nigeria’s Currant Economic Reforms” by Egbon 11 in relation to this research he states that, the timing of reform can surely by influenced decisively by political leadership. Effective communication can translate the vague sense that something is wrong in to a broad perception for the need of change. However, existing evidence shows that reform governments do not stand a very good chance of being re-elected, given that the benefits of reform just do not come through quickly enough to fit in to the electorate cycle.
Moreover, deep reforms are typically not recovered. He cites for example, in Chile, the democratically elected Social Democratic Government that follows the Pinochet autocracy opted to preserve much of the Chicago reforms that had being imposed by the previous non democratic regime. There also exist evidences that when government researches the point in a reform process where the prospects for re-election become dim, one more or less lose by continuing with the reform (e.g Gerhard Scroedar) Hamburg debate),12France, where electoral set back seems to have driven the reform agenda more deeply underground. There is therefore a definite role for suicide in politics.
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN 13 Annual report and statement of accounts states as follows: the policy thrust of NEEDs focused on Empowerment, Wealth Creation, employment generation, and poverty reduction as well as value re-orientation, under NEEDs a substantial progress was made in the implementation of structural reform, including a comprehensive banking sector consolidation programme, growing the non-oil sector, liberalization of Nigeria’s import tariffs regime transaction, introduction of a Whole sale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) for foreign exchange, fight against corruption, and in structuring and privatizing state owned enterprises, in order to improve the environment for private – sector led growth and increase investor’s confidence.
The economic and development planning by Jhingan listed, among his twelve point that are relevant to a successful development planning, firstly, he asserts that it is vital to have a planning commission with adequate organizational structure and qualified expert in various relevant field like economists, statisticians, engineers etc, dealing with various aspects of the economy. Apart from this is the availability of statistical data which also curtails setting up of a central statistical organization with a network of statistical bureau for collecting statistical data and information.14 Another point he asserts is having an education base that guarantees high ethical and moral standards, 15 also ensuring economy in administration “particularly in the expansion of ministries and state development all this aforementioned aimed at developmental purpose of a state. No doubt, this research essay, believes that NEEDs despite its unaccomplishment and failure has contributed considerably to the Nigeria development planning.