Nigeria government’s 7-Point Agenda alias Seven Major Government Issues accommodates Power and Energy, Food Security and Agriculture, Wealth Creation and Employment, Mass Transportation, Land Reform, Security plus Qualitative and Functional Education. They were defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future; which energizes development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts what Nigeria may simply need to catalyze her development. The concept of the agenda, in particular the essential needs of the Nigeria’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the Nigeria’s state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.
When you think of Nigeria’s 7-Point Agenda as a system over economy, you grow to understand that poor living standard affects quality of this socio-economical entireties in Nigeria, and that inequality sprayed in Governance could harm citizens morale off the terrain of Nigeria’s identity. And when you think of Nigeria as a system over time, you start to realize that the decisions our grandparents made about how to farm the land continue to affect agricultural practice today; and the economic policies we endorse today will have an impact on urban poverty when our children are adults. We also understand that quality of life is a system, too. It’s good to be physically healthy, but what if you are poor and don’t have access to education? It’s good to have a secure income, but what if the air in your part of the world is unclean? And it’s good to have freedom of religious expression, but what if you can’t feed your family? The concept of Yar’Adua’s 7-Point Agenda is rooted in this sort of systems thinking. It helps us understand ourselves and our Nigeria. The problems we face are complex and serious—and we can’t address them in the same way we created them. But we can address them.
President Umaru Yar’Adua’s 7-Point Agenda is pivotal. As part of the public sector/Nigeria government role, the challenge is to support and strengthen the Nigerian system to actualize its huge potential and fulfill its obligations to the society and the continent. Also for the Nigeria government-private-partnership to be effective, it is incumbent on government as well to promote a liberal environment and encourage private initiatives, establish a positive investment climate, develop infrastructural facilities, establish appropriate regulatory, legislative and policy environments and ensure a fair, equitable and efficient tax regime.
Nigeria had an estimated population of 125 million in 2001 that is nearly one quarter of the population of sub-Saharan African. It is estimated that one in every 6 black people in the world is a Nigerians. She covers a land area of 924,000sq. Kilometers, and the topography ranges from mangrove swampland along the coast to tropical rain forest and savannah to the north. The Sahara desert encroaches to the north, while gully erosion threatens parts of the south. Agriculture is the dominant economic activity, and a roughly 75% of the land is arable of which about 40% is cultivated.
Nigeria has estimated proven oil reserves of 32 billion barrels, and is the 6the largest producer in the Organization of Petrol Exporting Countries, (OPEC). At the current rate of production, these reserves can last about 35 years. In addition to oil, Nigeria has substantial reserves of natural gas and abundant solid mineral deposits, including coal, tin, kaolin, gypsum, columbine, gold, barites, marble, tantalite, salt and sulphur. Capacity utilization in industry is about 50%.Available data from the FOS indicates that poverty incidence in Nigeria in 1960 was about 15%. This grew to 28% in 1980 and 46% in 1985. By 1996, the poverty incidence was estimated to be about 66% in a population of about 110 million. Additional data from the FOS (1999) further indicated that life expectancy at birth was 51 years; literacy rate was 56%, and 70% of the rural population lacked access to potable water, healthcare and electricity.
The focus here is on the review of health care services that will provide a strong national health system that can deliver effective, good quality, and affordable services to all Nigerians. Priority diseases to be targeted include Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS,
and reproductive health related illness. NEEDS has prioritized the creation of a National Health Insurance Scheme and a Blood transmission Service. It has also supported the establishment of a strong manufacturing base for essential drugs and reagents. Antenatal, postnatal and family planning Services outlets have been targeted in order to reduce maternal/infant mortality.
NEEDS has facilitated the implementation of Universal Basic Education Programme (UBE) which seeks to increase school enrolment and provide better schools and colleges, and better trained teachers and trainers. NEEDS pays attention to the protection of vulnerable groups by providing safety nets that will prevent people from becoming poorer. Nigeria, like other countries, faces a number of regular shocks that must be reduced or mitigated to avoid pushing vulnerable people into poverty. Special programmes are on ground to protect the rural and urban poor, people living with HIV/AIDS, women, widows, and victims of violence, crime, unemployment, or loss of income. Promoting Peace and Security – NEEDS provides the following strategies for promoting peace and security, Reforming the security sector, ,Re-orienting the Police to offer more people friendly Services, Established early warning and response system that will detect conflicts, Provide a fairer allocation of resources and responsibilities between States and Federal Government. As a result of the Institutionalization and faithful pursuit of this gamut of reforms, the Nigerian government and people are finally beginning to reap the dividends of democracy. The latest figures released by the Federal Office of Statistics, FOS, indicate that economic growth has turned stronger since 1999. From 1995-1999 real GDP growth averaged 2.8%, again between 2000 and 2004; it was 6.0%, peaking at 10.23% in 2003. The year-to-year percentage change in agricultural output grew from 2.9% in 1999-2000 to 13.7% in 2000-2004. Overall poverty incidence also fell from 65.6% in 1996 to 57.8% in 2004.
The Institutional Framework for implementing NEEDS recognizes the importance of coordination among the federal governments NEEDS, the States Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (SEEDS), and local government levels for achieving the national development goals. A key Institution in coordinating poverty eradication activities is the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).It is the Secretariat of the National Poverty Eradication Council, which is chaired by the President, and has membership of ministers of 18 designated core poverty reduction ministries as members. It is the major Federal government’s programme implementing the goals of NEEDS at grassroots level. The primary mandate of NAPEP is to monitor and coordinate all poverty related programmes and projects, particularly of the different tiers of government, in line with the NEEDS. The secondary mandate of the NAPEP is to periodically extend intervention projects to complement the efforts of the implementing Ministries, Departments and relevant Parastatals throughout the country.
To this end, NAPEP embarks on different projects and schemes to ensure mass participation in the economic development process, and to empower the poor to have a voice. Some of these are its revolving micro-finance Scheme, through which it seeks to provide access to credit for large numbers of poor people who otherwise are excluded from the conventional financial system. This Scheme also promotes grassroots economic activity and encourages the savings and banking culture. The Capacity Acquisition Programme, CAP, empowers mainly youths by developing targeted skills, promoting entrepreneurship and light manufacturing and encouraging credit unions for generating savings. The Farmers Empowerment Programme, FEP, seeks to improve the lives of farmers and their families by introducing new techniques to improve output and productivity, and by developing agro-allied activities.
The ultimate target of the Federal Government poverty eradication scheme is the eradication of absolute poverty among the people of Nigeria. The eradication of poverty in Nigeria is therefore to ensure that all Nigerians are provided with: steady source of real income; high purchasing power; abundant, good quality and high nutritional food; basic healthcare facilities; good quality education; good quality drinking water; good standard housing units; good quality roads and other means of transport; stable and affordable power supply; good urban and rural communication facilities; cheap and affordable quality consumer products; and conducive environment for production and provision of quality services. If all of these are provided to all Nigerians, then the target for eradicating absolute poverty in Nigeria is achieved. It should be realized that, in order to achieve the above successfully, all the three tiers of Government must work together as a team.
Food security is currently constrained for many households in Nigeria. Localized production deficits in the main 2007 harvest occurred as a result of localized poor rainfall and an early end to the rainy season in mid-September. Consequently, prices started rising earlier than normal, and remain above average, especially in the north, fueled by speculative hoarding from traders and high industrial demand for grains. Many poor households have had to turn to the market earlier than normal
in the season to purchase food, resulting in moderate food insecurity and localized high food insecurity in the north.
From April to September, food prices are expected to remain high and market supplies limited, but conditions will begin to improve with the onset of the 2008 main rainy season. This season is expected to begin well in May, increasing the likelihood of a good harvest starting in September. This will cause traders to start to release stocks by June or July, relieving some pressure on prices. The government is also expected to supply markets with grain from strategic reserves, although this will likely have a limited impact. July to September is the peak hunger period in the north, however, and food insecurity will persist in those areas as a result.
In the worst-case scenario, food insecurity increases to high and extreme levels through September. If the main rainy season is poor, expectations for a below