Economic Crisis and Poverty Alleviation

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This paper is set out to examine the challenges posed by the Global Economic crisis on government’s efforts of poverty reduction in Nigeria. Data used for the study came from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were gathered through the instrument of questionnaire administered to 55 units of the respondents that constitute our sample size. Secondary data used were from published materials. Data were analyzed using Pearson chi square test. The study found that the crisis in focus has contributed to unemployment rate in the country, drop in government revenue and poor commodity prices, and hence negatively affected government’s effort of poverty reduction in the country. It was recommended among others that the government should reduce reliance on the petroleum sector as the source of revenue by diversifying other sectors like agriculture. This would reduce tension in the event of fluctuation in the oil prices at the global market. 1.0Introduction

Poverty is one of the greatest challenge to the global development and one of the top issues in the developmental agenda of most countries of the world, especially the developing ones. Available records have shown that in 1990, about 1.25 billion people in the developing countries lived below the poverty line. In the Sub-Saharan Africa, those people that lived below US$1 per day constituted about 46.5% of the entire population in 1990 although it dropped to about 45.9% in 2000 and 41.1% in 2004 (UN, 2008).

Although the poverty level has been declining in Sub-Saharan Africa on the average rate, progress made in Nigeria has not been very significant. The incidence of poverty in the country using US$1 per day increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 46.3% in 1985 and declined to 42.7% in 1992. The number however increased to 46.3% in 1996 and to about 70% in 2000. The report of the National Planning Commission indicates that the poverty level has reduced to about 54.4% in 2004 (Igbuzor, 2006a). This percentage is still above the average of 41.1% of the poverty rate in Sub – Saharan Africa in that year.

However, the issue of poverty and how to get out of it at the global level is the first and foremost goal among the eight goals aimed to be achieved by the world leadres at the United nations Millennium Summit of Sptember, 2000 which gave birth to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by 189 countries of the world. The goals are target to be achieved by 2015 (UNDP and UNICEF, 2002). Nigeria happened to be one of the countries that made such pledge in the summit and it has the highest population in Africa and rated as the third country in the world with highest number of people in poverty after China and India (Igbuzor, 2006b).

Since the inception of the of the Civilian Administration in 1999 a lot of efforts were made to ensure that poverty is reduced among the Nigerian populace especially with the pledge made by the government to halve it by 2015 from its level in 1990 as contained in the MDGs document. In fact, array of institutions were put in place to ensure realization of such target. Some of the machineries adopted a part of the MDGs are the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) as the highest poverty alleviation body in the country and National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) among others. However, it is during the struggle by the Nigeria among other countries to ensure that poverty is reduced among the populace that the world economy fall under attack as a result of what is generally perceived as Global Economic Meltdown or crisis. This phenomenon Started as financial Crisis in the United states of America (due to Certain laxities in the US financial system) in August 2007 with Sub-prime mortgage...
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