Saturday, 21 May 2011

MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: PROSPECTS OF ATTAINMENT AND CHALLENGES FOR NIGERIA

OLANIYI  EVANS

Dept of Economics

University of Lagos, Nigeria

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight time-bound inter-national development goals the world leaders endorsed at the UN Millennium Summit held in September 2000. The MDGs represent an agenda-setting for transforming the living conditions of all peoples at the turn of the third millennium. They also translate to a bold initiative through which the world leaders hope to bridge the chasm between the rich and poor nations of the world and create a new order of global partnership, development and prosperity.
The eight goals of the Millennium Declaration and the assigned specific targets deemed achievable by 2015 are as shown by the table below:

Goals
Targets
1.     
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
l Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than $1 per day
l Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
2.     
Achieve universal primary education
l Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
3.     
Promote gender equality and empower women
l Promote gender equality in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
4.     
Reduce child mortality
l Reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate among children under five
5.     
Improve maternal health
l Reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio
6.     
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
l Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
l Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
7.     
Ensure environmental sustainability
l Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources
l Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
l Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020
8.     
Develop a global partnership for development
l Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system; includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally
l Address the special needs of the least developed countries; includes tariff and quota free access for least developed countries exports; enhanced program of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance (ODA) for countries committed to poverty reduction
l Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small islands developing states
l Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term
l In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
l In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
l In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
The MDGs also provide a framework for the entire international community to work together towards a common end – making sure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. Its essence is to bring about a world where hunger, corruption, bad leadership, and all forms of deprivation are eliminated. It is also, a world where all the essential needs of man are provided. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.
Following the Millennium Declaration of 2000, Nigeria began the systematic implementation of several policies and programmes to help it attain the different targets set for the MDGs by 2015. Over the years, stakeholders have modified a few targets and refocused them to reflect local peculiarities as well as target more specific and measurable problems. Despite these efforts and the recorded achievements, however, there are still some major challenges.
Since Nigeria assented to the 2000 Millennium Declaration of the United Nations, the government has taken a number of steps geared towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Two of these relate to the adoption of MDG-based planning and the commissioning of an MDG Needs Assessment study whose broad objective is to provide a solid foundation for policy, budgeting, planning and financing strategy on the MDGs.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) annual MDG reports tracks the progress the country has made towards achieving the MDGs. A trend analysis of the reports shows that Nigeria would not achieve all the MDGs by 2015. The country has the potential to achieve the targets set for universal primary education, gender equality and women empowerment, HIV & AIDS, environmental stability and developing a global partnership for development. In contrast, progress is sluggish in poverty reduction, child mortality, maternal health, and diseases other than HIV & AIDS. The 2006 MDG report identifies three main challenges to the achievement of the MDGs by 2015 in Nigeria: the quality of governance, inadequate complementary efforts by subnational governments to reform efforts at the federal level, and lapses in the system of information gathering and management.
In 2006, the federal government adopted MDG-based development planning to channel investments quickly for meeting the MDGs. The government established the Virtual Poverty Fund (VPF) into which it pooled the fortuitous gains from the debt relief and from which it finances the MDG activities. In addition, the federal government established the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAPMDGs). This Office has the mandate ‘to act as secretariat to the Presidential Committee on the MDGs and develop a coherent approach for the achievement of the MDGs.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A 2003 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) review of sub-Saharan Africa’s social development indicators provides a bleak picture of the region’s progress towards MDGs. With an annual per capita income of barely $300, Nigeria is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. Currently, about 70% of Nigerians live in absolute poverty (about 84 million people); a Gini coefficient of 0.49 indicates high inequality. It requires an annual GDP growth rate of 7-8% in order to halve the number of people in poverty by 2015, and this translates to an investment rate of more than 30% per annum, but currently, the country grows at about 3%.
The under-five mortality rate is 197 per 1,000 live births; the maternal mortality rate 800 per 100,000 live births is among the highest in the world; the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is the second largest in the world despite a reduction in the national prevalence rate to 4.4 per cent; there has been limited progress in access to safe water and sanitation since 1990; and the high proportion of gas flared (40 per cent) imposes major economic, social and environmental costs. The human development index score for Nigeria stands at 0.448 (2007).
Nigeria has deployed so much money and personnel at state and Federal levels to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Nonetheless according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Hajiya Amina Az-Zubair at a briefing on progress of MDGs in Abuja, to achieve the MDGs by 2015 would require a whopping $170.30 billion which is N25.557 trillion within a period of six years starting by 2010. Az-Zubair said that on an annual basis, the projected cost of achieving the MDGs will increase from $19.3bn in 2010 to $38bn in 2015 while averaging $284bn annually. In Nigeria’s current economic condition, Az-Zubair’s figures tend to suggest that the MDGs are unaffordable and too expensive to realize.
Moreover, the various programmes carried out by the Nigerian government on the MDGs have not actually reflected in the achievement of the eight goals. In many areas, the problem is not necessarily lack of or defects in current policy and programmes, but more crucially, implementation bottlenecks which would make an appreciable difference when removed. This is basically due to the absence of collaboration between the three tiers of government, the private sector, civil society organizations and the development partners in order to speed up progress.  Nigeria is making headway towards only three of the Millennium Development Goals – in basic education, HIV prevalence and the global partnership for development. Progress is either too slow or static in other areas.  It is on this premises that this research study intends to assess the prospects of achieving the MDGs in Nigeria as well as the challenges.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of the research study:
      I.            To examine how the country has progressed on the MDGs targets and indicators by December 2010
   II.            To identify and analyze the prospects of Nigeria achieving the MDGs by 2015.
III.            To identify and analyze the key challenges to  achieving the MDGs in Nigeria.
IV.            To identify the various policies and reform programs carried out by the Government in order to attain the MDGs.
  V.            To identify the contributions of MDGs to development in Nigeria.
VI.    To suggest for each of the goals, key priority actions that government needs to pay maximum attention to.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study attempts to answer the following questions:
      I.            What are the prospects of Nigeria attaining the MDGs by 2015?
   II.            What are the challenges faced by Nigeria in achieving the MDGs?
III.            What are the various policies and reform programs carried out by the Nigerian Government in order to achieve the MDGs?
IV.            What are the benefits of the MDGs to Nigeria?
1.5 HYPOTHESES
Hypothesis 1
Ho: Nigeria has no prospects of attaining the MDGs by 2015.
Hi: Nigeria has prospects of attaining the MDGs by 2015
Hypothesis 2
Ho: Nigeria is not faced with challenges in the achievement of the MDGs.
Hi: Nigeria is faced with challenges in the achievement of the MDGs.
1.6 METHODOLOGY
The research study shall make use of secondary data from federal and state government ministries, as well as those from international development agencies involved in supporting policies and programmes for MDG’s such as Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, National Planning        Commission and United Nations Development Programme Reports.
The data shall be analyzed using mostly descriptive statistics such as percentages, average annual rate of change and deviations. For clarity and understanding, the report uses tables, boxes and graphs to present its results.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study explores the factors and conditions that may be responsible for performance on MDGs in Nigeria. Exploring the factors and reasons for disappointing performance will provide in-depth explanation of why Nigeria is doing well in some areas while wobbling in others and what is working or not working at all levels. Such explanation will deepen understanding of the role of the Nigerian government in the march towards the 2015 targets. Also, by comparing MDG indicators in Nigeria with the rest of the world, this study would provide critical insights on what and how Nigeria can learn from others towards impacting more tangibly to realising the global country-level targets.
This research study is expected to benefit the general public, the government, and the academic environment.
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research study shall focus on the prospects of Nigeria achieving the MDGs by 2015, the specific areas where Nigeria has made headways since 2000 when the MDG’s were adopted and major challenges faced in the attainment of the MDGs in Nigeria.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The major factors which may pose as constraints in the research study are paucity of time and inadequacy or inconsistency of data. Also, availability of data for international comparisons may be a challenge.
2.0 ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
The research study shall be divided into five basic chapters which are:
Chapter one – Introduction.
Chapter two – Literature review.
Chapter three – Research methodology.
Chapter four – Data presentation and analysis.
Chapter five – Summary conclusion and recommendations.

REFERENCES          
African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, 2005, The Politics of the MDGs and Nigeria
Hajiya Amina, Mid-Point Assessment of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria 2000-2007
Todaro and Smith, Economic Development 10th ed., pp 24

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment