Why Buhari’s Social Intervention Programs Fell Short of Poverty Alleviation Goals – Insights
Despite an expenditure exceeding N3.5 trillion by the former President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the majority of the Federal Government’s social intervention programs failed to achieve the necessary impact in lifting many Nigerians out of poverty, as per industry experts.
These experts assert that poor planning and a lack of direction were at the core of the programs’ shortcomings.
Some of the National Social Intervention Programs (NSIP) include the Home Grown School Feeding Program, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP), N-Power, National Social Safety Net Program (NASSCO), and the National Cash Transfer Program (N-CTP), commonly known as ‘Trader Moni.’
According to industry analysts interviewed by The ICIR, the lack of coherence within these programs did not allow for proper accountability and evaluation, leading to their limited success.
Last week, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Beta Edu, stated that the government was investigating intervention schemes initiated by the previous administration within her ministry, citing concerns about corruption in their execution.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also under scrutiny for its intervention programs, with over N1.27 trillion reportedly spent on them.
To address the shortcomings of these programs, experts argue that strategic thinking and a well-thought-out approach are required.
Sam Amadi, a Professor of Law at Baze University and a Public Affairs analyst, emphasized that significant social intervention policies require strategic planning. He stated that the failure of these interventions resulted from inadequate analysis of the problems, a lack of central coherence, and insufficient consideration of exit plans.
Amadi also highlighted the risk of political interests interfering in programs without proper exit plans. These concerns demonstrate the need for better project design, accountability, and execution strategies.
Celestine Okeke, a development economist, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the government’s often hurried approach to intervention policies to fulfill political interests hindered their effectiveness.
A significant concern revolves around the social safety register for Nigeria’s intervention programs, which has faced scrutiny for how registrations are conducted across different geopolitical zones.
President Buhari initially established the National Social Investment Program (NSIP) in 2015 to address socio-economic imbalances, alleviate poverty, and stimulate economic growth. However, despite his promise in June 2019 to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, the administration left 133 million people in various categories of poverty. This outcome reflects the need for better-designed and more carefully executed interventions.