Impact Of The National Poverty Eradication Programme (napep) On The Economic Development Of Nigeria

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Background of the Study

The rising incidence of poverty has been a major concern in contemporary Nigeria, owing particularly to the fact that it continually poses a threat to peace and security.The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social Sciences’ literature is replete with attempt by Economists and other Social Scientists to conceptualize the phenomenon. Poverty has economic, social and political ramifications. The poor are materially deprived, socially alienated and politically excommunicated. Basically, Poverty has been conceptualized in the following ways:

  1. Lack of access to basic needs/goods and
  2. Lack of or impaired access to productive resources.

Poverty as lack of access to basic needs/goods is essentially economic or consumption oriented. Thus the poor are conceived as those individuals or households in a particular society, incapable of purchasing a specified basket of basic goods and services. Basic goods as used here include; food, shelter, water, health care, access to productive resources including education, working skill and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions (Ajakaiye and Adeyeye 2001 in Gbosi, 2004). It is generally agreed that in conceptualizing poverty, low income or low consumption is its symptom.

The level of poverty in Nigeria since the implementation of SAP in the 1980s has tremendously increased (UNDP Nigeria, 1998; FOS, 1999; World Bank, 1999).
The poverty profile in Nigeria showed that the incidence of poverty increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 43.6% in 1985 but declined to 42.7% in 1992 and rose again to 65.6% in 1996 (FOS 1999). Since 1990 the country has been classified as a poor nation. The UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI) for 2001 ranked Nigeria the 142nd with HDI of 0.40 among the poorest countries.

From 1980-1996, the population of poor Nigerians increased four folds in absolute terms. The percentage of the core poor increased from 62% in 1980 to 93% in 1996 whereas the moderately poor only rose from 28.9% in 1992 to 36.3% in 1996 (FOS, 1999). The analysis of the depth and severity of poverty in Nigeria showed that rural areas were the most affected. Several reasons accounted for the situation viz;

a. the large concentration of the populace in the rural areas,

b. many years of neglect of the rural areas in terms of infrastructure development and lack of information on the way government is being run.

The CBN/World Bank study on poverty Assessment and Alleviation in Nigeria (1999) attested to the fact that the living and environmental conditions of those living in the rural areas have worsened. Urban poverty is also on the increase in the country. This has been attributed to the under provision of facilities and amenities which are already inadequate to match the growing demand of the urban populace as well as the rural-urban movement which has caused serious pressure on the existing infrastructural facilities.

Concern about this problems as well as efforts made to eradicate or at least reduce it cannot be said to be new. While major reductions in poverty level have been made in developed countries, developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, have been battling with poverty, from one poverty alleviation programme to another eradication programme, but all to no avail.

The concern over increasing poverty levels in Nigeria and the need for its eradication as a means of improving the standard of living of the people have led to the conceptualization and implementation of various targeted or non-targeted poverty eradication and alleviation-programmes. Both the Nigerian government and donor agencies have been active in efforts in analyzing and finding solutions to the increase of poverty level. Government programmes and agencies designed to impact on poverty include:

a. The Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (D.F.F.R.I).

b. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE)

c. The establishment of the Peoples Bank of Nigeria in 1989.

d. The Better Life Programme (BLP)

e. The Family Support Programme (FSP)

f. The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)

g. National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).

h. The Nomadic and Adult Education Programme established in 1986.

And most recently, with the return of democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government embarked on poverty reduction programme specifically, the government put up the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in the year 2000 which took off in 2001. It was aimed at eradicating absolute poverty and it consist of four schemes namely;

a. Youth Empowerment Scheme, Rural Infrastructures and Development Scheme

b. Social Welfare Services Scheme

c. Rural Resources Development and

d. Conservation Scheme.

To implement theseprogrammes, the government placed emphasis on complementation, collaboration and coordination between the various tiers of government on the one hand and between government, Donor/Agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities on the other. A multi-agency implementation structure with coordination, monitoring and evaluating organ was introduced in order to ensure cost effective delivery target with optimal social benefit. Particularly this programme, NAPEP is being implemented in Nigeria till date. The questions arising from the implementation of NAPEP include:

a. Is poverty eradicating programme appropriate for Nigeria?

b. How has government’s concept of NAPEP affected its success?

c. How has NAPEP’s activities impacted on poverty reduction as a boost to economic development?

In spite of all the laudable efforts at addressing poverty, the problem still persists in Nigeria.

The task of meeting these challenges led to the setting up of the foda paned in 1999, which resulting in the introductionpoverty alleviation program (PAP) in 2000. It was later repackaged as the Nation Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP)in January 2001. NAPEP was there for established to harmonize and improve on previous poverty Alleviationprogrammes in the country NAPEP, on this note, became a mega program of the Obasanjo regime, with the mandate to eradicate absolute poverty by 2010. (NAPEP, 200, 114).

Statement of the Problem

The Obasanjo civilian regime, for eight years {1999-2007}, grappled with the problem of poverty in Nigeria, using NAPEP as an agency and setting a target of absolute eradication  of poverty in the country. Sympathizers of Government and most government officials however, gave a pass mark of  fifty percent poverty  reduction rate to NAPEP. This study, having  identified the dispute in claims on the performance of NAPEP, assessed the agency for the period of 2001-2013 and attempted to find out whether it has actually improved the well-being of Nigerians.

Specifically, NAPEPs major objective has been to ensure that Nigerians have access to portable water, food, clothing, shelter, primary healthcare facilities, education and recreational facilities and within the period under review the federal government claimed that poverty had been reduced by fifty percent with the activities of NAPEP.

These experiences of the past and fouth republic solution via NAPEP, elicited our quest for the need to assess the first seven years of NAPEP as an instrument and agency but the much pertinent questions to ask are:

  1. Did NAPEP activities and efforts actually reduce poverty level within the period under review in Nigeria
  2. Did NAPEP engage participatory approach in the fight againstpoverty.
  3. Was NAPEP poverty free? If not, did it in any way affect the performances of the agency?
  4. What are the measures that can strengthen NAPEP as an institution for fighting poverty in Nigeria?

This study found answers to these posers.

Purpose of the Study

Broadly, the purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) on the economic development of Nigeria.

Though this study uses some specific objectives which include:

  1. To access and identify areas of deficiencies, problems and failures and proffer some policy recommendations based on the findings of this study.
  2. To determine the best alternative for control of combating poverty in Nigeria.
  3. To find out whether poverty is more or tends to be predominant before the year under review i.e. (2001 – 2013).

Significance of the Study

            This study is an attempt to evaluate the performance of NAPEP as a government agency for poverty eradication. Poverty is a task in the contemporary world that most nations must face. Full date, poverty is an all – consuming complex and multi-dimensional concept with multifarious causes with no straight jacket panacca or theraphy.

The study is further justified as is providing a single study conducted on NAPEP activities covering the whole of 2002-2013.

The study exposed government’s poor participatory approach in programme, planning, implementation and evaluation. The study equally illuminates the mistake of unwieldy scope of some schemes/programmes leading to resources being thinned up or spread out among too many projects.

Above all, the study have placed on record the inadequate funding to system the programme for a period long enough to let benefits manifest.

Delimitations of the Study

This study covers the impact on National Poverty Eradication Programmes (NAPEP) on economic development in Nigeria, however, there is focus on NAPEP’s adjuring sectoral schemes such as: Youth Empowerment Schemes (YES). Rural Infrastructure Development Scheme (RID): Social Welfare Services Schemes (SOWESS) and National Resources Development Scheme (NRDS).

Research Questions

  1. Did NAPEP activities and efforts actually reduce poverty level within the period under review in Nigeria?
  2. Did NAPEP engage in participatory approach in the fight against poverty?
  3. Does NAPEP a failed programme in Nigeria?


This study shall work within the framework of the following hypotheses that:

  1.  An institutional approach to the fight against poverty is more likely to succeed than a plethora of approaches that are not institutionally based.
  2. An agency fighting against poverty using a participatory approach is likely to make more impact than the one that is excessively academic.
  3.  A poverty reduction agency such as NAPEP may likely succeed when it is well funded.


The basic assumptions of this research work are listed below:

  1.  National Poverty Alleviation ProgrammeNAPEP has failed to address the issue of poverty
  2. Government efforts at addressing the issue of poverty have not contributed to the poverty reduction strategies.
  3. Poor leadership and mismanagement of the nation’s resources has contributed to the poor status of majority of the Nigeria population.


Research Methodology

The nature of the methodology will be through the library research and central analysis.

It involves the collection of data from secondary source i.e. existing and relevant scholarly work of writers these are text books, newspapers, magazine and the internet.

Definition of Terms

  1. Poverty:in could be defined as a situation where ones income is too low to allow the purchase of goods and service that will satisfy its basic need and when it has on financial resource kept in the form of accumulated or acquired wealth.
  2. Poverty line:it is defined as the money cost of a given person at a given time and place of a reference level or welfare
  3. Poverty level:it is used to denote those living below the poverty line.

Poverty can also be defined based on the concept of lack of access to opportunities and resources concern for human right and environmental challenges.

Poverty is also a multi-dimensional phenomenon that affects many aspect of human condition ranging from the physical, moral to the psychological. It is also defined as the state of been poor or deficient in money or means of subsistence.

Organization of the Chapters

On order to achieve the objectives of this work, the entire work is structured into five chapters. The first chapter is the general introduction containing the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, significance of the study, delimitations of the study, research question, hypothesis,assumption and definition of terms.

Chapter two contain the literature review on the concept, causes dimension of poverty its implications for development and an assessment of the preferred solutions. It also discusses the theoretical framework that achors the study.

Chapter three attempts a general survey of the Nation’s Economy and Poverty situation.

It also evaluates part effort and poverty reduction and examines why NAPEP became inevitable.

Chapter four takes a look at the history, organization structure and organization strategies of NAPEP.

Chapter five is the concluding chapter containing summary, recommendation where measures for improving NAPEP are raised and conclusion drawn.

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Impact Of The National Poverty Eradication Programme (napep) On The Economic Development Of Nigeria