GOVERNMENT IN PRO–POOR BUDGET

poverty in nigeria

Background

African countries have not been committed to the formulation of poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) as a result of the failure of structural adjustment programmes of the 1980s.

For several years, there has been economic strategy paper aimed at establishing a plan for poverty reduction at the national level. The PRSP initiated by the IMF and world bank in the late 1990s were aimed at assisting countries to develop strategies for poverty reduction. This complemented highly indebted poor country (HIPC) initiative which was aimed at ensuring that no poor country faces a debt burden it cannot manage.

In September 2000, at the millennium summit, the world leaders fixed the agenda for the United Nations. Eight objectives/goals with specific targets were developed to be achieved by member nations by 2015. This agenda establishes directive which makes the national development.

One of the tools developed by the government which embraces the MDGs into national development framework is the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF). It serves as a basis for dring up a budget each year. The national budget, an essential instrument of public policy, is drawn up each year by the government. This is an act that forecasts public revenues and expenditures; the government examines it and authorizes the executives to implement it in accordance with the legislative and regulatory provisions.

The budget portrays the ambitions of an economic and social policy, and the tenable, namely the economic and financial means of action. It is the main instrument for modernization of public management. It is equally an indispensable tool in leading the fight against poverty and in achieving the MDGs.

Introduction

Government plays a crucial role in poverty reduction, through good governance and effective public sector performance. Good governance principles of transparency and accountability ensure improved service delivery to the poor and promote the establishment of a favourable environment for investment and growth.

The general public participation is pertinent to the revolution of poverty reduction strategies. As representatives of the people, the government has a duty to ensure that the voice of the people is heard. The government is uniquely positioned to understand and monitor the effects of poverty and act as a bridge between private and civil society. Government provide the multiparty consensus with a poverty reduction priorities and thus for countrywide support and ownership.

Effective poverty reduction requires stakeholders to have a good understanding of the pathways through which poverty reduction policies (at Global, regional and National levels) are transmitted to the poor.

As key stakeholders in poverty reduction initiatives, government performs quite a number of important functions which are very important to fight against poverty. It is important to locate where concentrations of the poor exist within society and to consider the regional, occupation, ethnic, and gender characteristics of the poor for adequate pro-poor policy formulation.

Government must of a necessity play an active role in all phases of budget process, including policy formulation, ensuring that what has been approved is put into effect, making sure that poverty-related priorities are incorporated adequately, auditing and evaluating budget results to increase the effectiveness of expenditure, and maintaining financial transparency through government policy implementation and service delivery role, awareness can be created through information dissemination.

The government can work together with civil society and insist on explanation when goals are not met through monitoring and evaluation of policy outcomes.

Conceptual framework

This presentation talks about effective government involvement in the budget process in ensuring pro-poor bias of the national budget. It also looks at how the government is able to use its involvement in the budget process to advocate adequate resource allocation to pro-poor programmes and projects.

The budget as a tool for poverty reduction government is established by constitutional provisions and operates by strict adherence to the laws of the nation. It is a concentration of all the interests of the nation with a membership varied and different in origins.

The budget which is one of the most important laws passed by the government. Infant, the budget is the tool par excellence for fiscal and economic policy. The choice the government makes in terms of approving taxes and another instrument for revenue mobilization are informed by the socio-political context.

The budget must take into cognizance the objectives fixed by the world leaders in the MDGs. The allocation of resources must conform to the objectives being pursued. The budget submitted came from the sectoral ministries that are charged with implementing sectional policies. It is important that the body in charge of budgetary to be aware of the commitment which the governments have subscribed to.

The millennium development goals the millennium development goals, (MDGs) became the policy thrust of the government of Nigeria after they signed the united nation sponsored a drive for development in 2000. The goals are eight this is illustrated using the table below;

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MDGs

TARGETS

1. Eliminating extreme poverty

Reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population whose income is less than one dollar a day.

Ensure full employment and the possibility of each one including women and young people finding a decent and productive work.

Reduce by half between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people suffering from hunger.

2. Ensure primary education for all

Giving all children, boy and girls, everywhere in the world the means to finish a complete cycle of primary education by 2015.

3. Promote equality of sexes and the autonomy of women

Eliminate disparity between sexes in primary and secondary education by 2005, and if possible, to give all of them the level of education required latest by 2015.

4. Reduce the mortality of children below five years

Reduce the rate of mortality of children below five years by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015.

To make universal procreative medicine accessible by 2015

5. Improve maternal health

Reduce the rate of maternal mortality by three – quarters between 1990 and 2015.

6. Fight against Hiv/Aids, malaria and other diseases

Step the spread of HIV/Aids and begin to reverse the current trend by 2015.

Ensure that all those who need to be treated for HIV/Aids have access to treatment by 2015.

Bring malaria and other serious diseases under control and begin to reverse the current trend by 2015.

7. Ensure sustainable environment

Integrate the principles of lasting development into national policies and programmes and reverse the current trend of loss of environmental resources.

Reduce the loss of biodiversity and achieve a significant decline in the rate of loss by 2010.

Reduce by half the percentage of the population that neither has access to a lasting supply of potable water nor to basic sanitary service by 2015.

8. Put in place global partnership for development

Meet the needs of particularly least developed countries, countries without coastlines and small developing Island states. Pursue the setting up of a regulated, predictable and non – discriminatory and multilateral financial and commercial system.

Deal with the problem of the debt of developing countries as a global issue.

Cooperate with the private sector to see to it that the advantages of new technologies especially information communication technologies, be given to all.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the words time-bound and targets for addressing extreme poverty in many dimension, income – poverty disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion while promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. They are also the basic human right of each person on the planet of health, education, shelter and security.

Pro-poor policies in budget determination

The PRSP is drawn up in accordance with participatory processes which take into account every social stratum. These processes end in plans with that allow for monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of policies and the ensuring advantages for the poor and vulnerable people.

Such a strategy is sustained by the allocation of resources. The budget then becomes the main tool for implementing the PRSP. The funds allocated conform to the priorities defined by the strategy. The sectional strategies, the development plans and the MTEF contribute to achieving the objectives of the PRSP out of the national budget. The budget becomes the key element in the implementation of PRSP.

The governments must consistently take the targets into account in proposing the allocation of resources. To improve a given indicator the following ought to be considered.

  1. The quantity of the resource to be allocated.

  2. Social group to be targeted.

  3. The region of the country to be targeted.

  4. How to spend resources and

  5. How to monitor, evaluate and control.

For example, to achieve objective 1 target 1, that is “reduce by half, the proportion of the population whose income is less than one dollar a day, between 1990 and 2015; a series of policies to be implemented as well as resource to be mobilize will be provided for, in the states budget, in short a programme with general objectives, specific objectives, policies and expected outcomes, all within the logical framework of making it coherent and allowing for monitoring, evaluation and controlling in due time by competent institutions the procedure will be the same for each of the objectives and targets retained. Each country implements them according to her national constraints and her ability to mobilize and use resources coming from the international community the common denominator will be that the budget of the state will be focused on pro-poor projects.

Essentially, the budget should provide favourable measures for;

  • Gender

  • The fight against poverty

  • Achieving MDGs

  • The advancement of your people, their training and their integration into the world of work.

  • Fighting against endemic diseases and Hiv/Aids pandemic

  • Good governance, promoting human rights and the protection of vulnerable people.

These measures denote only have to do with public expenditure, they also concern the section on the relevance of the budget and can consist of tax expenses or tax measures. Indeed, tax structure can express the will of the government to efficiently fight against poverty. The possible consequences of taxes and taxes on the poor and vulnerable people are indicators for the body of government in charge of budgetary process revenue mobilization should be done to the detriment of the poor.

Tools needed to be put in place to ensure that the poor are taken into consideration.

The government prepares the budget proposal according to economic policy choices of sector programmes. The proposal is submitted to the body of government in charge is allocated one or several permanent technical committees.

Hence, the poor are not a separate category of the society. They include varied group (men, women, young, old) and in all the different regions. There is a single budget whose leaning can be pro-poor or not. In this ways, a growth towards a category of expenditures aimed at reducing the inequalities can be qualified as pro-poor.

Allocating of resources in a pro-poor budget

Even if poverty is defined as a lack of knowledge, assets and power, it does not remain any less than it presents itself under different profiles according to the countries. In other for effective allocation of public resources, the government is obliged with the following response.

  1. The government must have comprehensive information as possible and profile of poverty and the different scenarios, so as to improve the indicators retimed.

  2. The government must examine the different programmes and estimate the adequacy of resources.

  3. The government should initiate or support any legislature n favour of attaining MDGs.

  4. The government should ensure that they implement all the monitoring evaluation and control mechanism.

Conclusion and recommendation

The government must strive to be responsive to the needs of the people. This is as a result of the following reasons. Firstly, these in government are there because they were voted for by the people, secondly, many of those who vote to put the government in power are poor people who look up to the government to use their privileged positions to improve the appalling conditions under which ordinary people live.

Finally, the government has a constitutional responsibility to cater for the needs of the ordinary people. Also, the public resources and funds the government access from donor countries are meant to be invested in the projects that are beneficiaries to the poor.

Hence, the fruits of economic growth must be directed towards the concern of the poor. These concerns are moat seriously felt in sectors such as food/ agriculture, education, health and so on. Thus, it is essential for the government to invest resources in the development of these sectors.

Millennium development goals as the policy thrust to globalize the world need same urgent measures to be taken especially by the third world countries of Africa and Asian.

Research and recent writers have proved that the millennium development goals can only be achieved when the necessary machinery is put in place.

  1. Laws must be taken into account in improving the budgetary process and made more transparent and accessible to all the citizens and especially the poor.

  2. The executive should open preliminary discussions on the definition of public policy for all the institution and non-institutional actors involve in the budgetary process.

  3. Monitoring institutions must play their role to ensure effective implementation of the pro-poor budget.

  4. Information on the budget must be available and updated regularly. For example, MTEF that contains quality information can help the government to exert its control on the expenses and in relation to the policies fixed and to ask the government to be accountable.

  5. the government need to be educated and informed on international commitments subscribed to by the country and which demand that certain conditionalities be respected before accessing resources for poverty reduction and the attainment of the MDGs in general.

  6. Monitoring evaluation and controlling the budget has to be the main preoccupation of government in the budgetary process.

  7. On the expenditure side, it is important for the government to check allocation for the pro-poor sector as well as growth producing the part. Some indicators can be checked in public sector debates, level of unemployment or job created through official channels social protection programmes and cash transfer mode of targeting and distribution, allocation to the following pro-poor sectors: rural electrification, pro-poor agriculture, primary health care, basic education, feeder and farm access roads, and rural drinking water.

  8. On the revenue side, the government should ensure that tax system, in particular, is structured in such a way as to provide maximum sustainable social protection for the poor and vulnerable.

  9. Donor, aid, grant, funds and budget support funds usually contracted by government need to be examined for their poverty focus.

References

  • Parliaments, poverty reduction and budget in Africa (2009). www.parlcomm.org.gh.
  • Baunsgaard T. and Michael k (2004) “tax revenue and (or) trade liberation”, mimeo September Ipu, praline module on parliamentary oversight
  • Makumbe, j. (1980) promoting good governance through civil society – legislature linkages introduction is their civil society in Africa” www.istr.org/conference/barcelona/wpvolumes/jones.terbo.pdf.
  • Kukah, M.H. (2003) democracy and civil society in Nigeria, spectrum books, 2003, pp.49
  • The African governance report for 2005 fond that ; (UNECA,2005,pp.127)
  • Osemwenkha, S. and Egbufor G. “millennium development, its policy framework and Nigeria government” the Abuja management review – volume 6.No.1, 2009
About Enyiuche 133 Articles
A simple, honest youth who believes in change. Was born on the right day, in the right place and at the right time. Built and equipped with tools to serve mankind irrespective of culture, belief, race, language, and ethnicity.

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