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Targeting Development Programs in Africa: Analysis of Policy Requirements

By Mohamed Damilola Olajide

 I. Introduction:

African governments, international agencies, and other policy makers in the area of development often emphasize targeting as a strategy for implementing programs and projects. For governments in Africa, uneven development, patterns of social and class differentiation, the need to ensure fiscal budgetary discipline, among other factors, have made it necessary for the adoption of targeting. For instance, targeting has often been emphasized in poverty alleviation programs or projects. Not only is targeting widely recognized as a means for implementing policies, but also for ensuring equitable distribution of projects such as infrastructure. However, recent experiences with program implementation through targeting in some African countries, suggest that targeting tends to be a highly sensitive issue and a potential source of tensions particularly in multi-ethnic or relatively diverse societies. Therefore it is thought that separate targeting policies are required as apart of comprehensive national development strategies.

The assumption that an African country tends to be characterized by uneven development among its component units, regions or groups of people implies that such areas or group considered 'backward' should be targeted when implementing programs and projects aimed at ensuring equitable development of the country. More often than not, targeting results in controversies and criticisms from other sections or groups who see targeting as a means of concentrating national resources in the development of specific areas at the neglect of others. Thus targeting could be a major source of political and/or ethnic tension in countries where ethnic and tribal sentiments often play major roles in issues concerning development and resources allocation.

Even in some advanced economies, targeting development aid has not been conflict-free. It has often been a source of heated debates and controversies. In the EU for instance, the procedures and specific criteria for selecting disadvantaged areas for European Community Rural Development Assistance (ECRDA) were established in only recently. In the USA, Paul Dommel and Michael Rich reported in Urban Affairs Quarterly, June 1987 that targeting the Community Development Block Grant Program adopted in 1977 have had negative effects. It was argued to have made the rich get richer, and that it has worked to the disadvantage of needier communities. Another study by Jerry Webman published in the Political Science Quaterly, Summer 1981 also suggests that targeting urban economic development programs have effects on industrial location decisions. In addition, Paul Farnham, in a study of the targeting of federal aid in the USA indicates that debates and controversies that occurred over the implementation or the process made a comprehensive review of existing legislation on targeting a necessity.

The above are simple instances of targeting and its likely implications, and a suggestion that targeting development programs and aids is not completely crisis-free. Nevertheless, some critical issues surrounding program/policy implementation to which targeting is an instrument are often neglected during the design of such programs or policies. Most development aid programs to African countries appear to have assumed similarities in characteristics among all aid recipients. Often there are no considerations for country-specific issues such as a society’s sensitivity to ethnicity or cultural diversity.

Moreover, inability to separate policy design from its implementation often results in additional or associated costs (financial, social, political, and economic) in development programs during implementation. These in the form of increased administrative costs to national governments, attempt to ensure that a given program reach its intended or target beneficiaries may also raise transaction costs, raise the cost of providing incentives to the economy, and overall reduction in political support. In most cases such costs are often overlooked during program/project planning. Thus, posing severe constraints to the smooth implementation. In view of these and other reasons, the need for targeting policy cannot be overemphasized.

An objective of this paper is to provide insights into the question of how targeting policy can be designed in order to make program implementation to meet the requirements of more effectiveness, minimum ‘costs', and optimal political support. Attempt to provide answers to this question are presented in a policy-making framework. The paper looks at these major policy requirements for targeting development programs and projects in an African country context.

The view is that targeting as currently being employed in policy implementation in African countries does not appear to be conflict/tension-free, and would do little in changing the existing inequalities in the distribution of benefits from development programs. Thus, there is need for clearly designed targeting policies that form part of country comprehensive development strategies. In a democratic setting, targeting should provide a sufficient means by which development programs/projects are implemented if there are policies by which targeting options are clearly identified and tested for public approval before they are carried out.

The paper traces the conditions in African countries, which tend to make targeting of development programs and projects necessary. Looking at the conditions from their historical, economic, social, and spatial/locational perspectives attempt this. The likely objectives and priorities of a targeting policy are identified. Some targeting options, alternatives, and methods are considered. Each of these options is analyzed in terms of their costs and benefits (economic, political, and social). Comparing the likely socioeconomic costs of a given option to its likely benefits carries out a feasibility test. In order to learn from country experiences, the experience of Nigeria in targeting and implementing the Petroleum (prices) Trust Fund (PTF) is compared to experiences of targeting performance in South Africa, Malaysia, and Bulgaria in targeting poverty alleviation programs.

The paper concludes by drawing on the lessons to learn from these country experiences and discusses the major requirements in designing a targeting policy. Emphasis is placed on making targeting demand-oriented, which ensures alternative program/projects. In this case, data gathering, testing policy for public acceptance, and ensuring beneficiary participation not only of beneficiary groups but also involving other interest groups and sections are necessary.

II: Why is targeting necessary?

Conceptually, targeting is intended to answer the question, who benefits from a given development program/project? It involves identification of specific beneficiaries of a given development program or project. A given program or project in this case is an object of public expenditure. Thus, targeting is a key design principle in public expenditure. It is also a key instrument for policy implementation. Targeting methods are used as a means by which programs such as those intended for poverty alleviation are implemented. In this case, poverty alleviation programs such as provision of safety nets and income transfer for an identified group of people is an instance of targeting. In the USA, targeting federal aid for community development is regarded as a process by which categorical grants for urban and community development are transformed into the Community Development Bloc Grant program. Here, targeting emphasized distribution of program benefits to lower groups. More generally, in an agricultural development policy, an instance of targeting is directing payments to small or financially handicapped vulnerable or poor farmers, or in microfinance, which provides direct credit assistance to micro and small enterprises.

On the other hand, identified beneficiaries of a given project may be a group of people for which the project has been specifically designed. A group of people can be identified in terms of certain characteristics or conditions that make targeting a necessary means, by which, to benefit from such a program/project. These characteristics and conditions have economic, social, spatial/locational dimensions each making it necessary to target development programs. Firstly, in African economies where there have been uneven development of the various segments, units, or regions. Historically, a source of uneven development in African countries can be traced to the development of capitalism, which was experienced by the colonial societies in Africa. This was through African incorporation into an emerging world market and international division of labor, typically initiated during a period of European colonial rule. In this sense, capitalism came to these societies from outside rather than resulting from their internal dynamics. Thus there have been significant fundamental social changes and of the chosen characters of capitalist development in African countries. This suggests key connections in the relationship between capitalism and colonialism and also significant variation in the colonial experience, which result in uneven development within African colonies.

Therefore uneven development within a given African country can be said to have resulted in links between economic sectors, technology, and social forms of production, in a spatial as well as social division of labor. The development of capitalism thus reshaped pre-existing social divisions, as well as creating new ones. Uneven development thus resulted in social differentiation. It has resulted in social relations of systemic inequality along lines of class, gender, and divisions (e.g. tribal and ethnic), and the process through which these social divisions and relations are created. Therefore, programs aimed at reversing this trend tend to emphasize targeting areas or groups, which have been left out of development.

Secondly, the crisis of the 'developmental state' in African countries. The central role of the state in development planning and economic management has had a strong resonance in Africa. It was seen as a principal means of managing the economy, directing it away from the interests of financing capital and markets toward meeting national needs and aspirations. The crisis of developmental state that emanated from this central role of the state in the 1970s and early 1980s in Africa has resulted in locational and social differentiation in a considerable number of countries. The crisis of the developmental state has had far reaching implications form the regular,, persistent deprivation being experienced in many African countries. There had been fallen export volumes and values, squeezed import capacity, and problems of food supply, which together escalated external borrowing followed by decline in their credit worthiness. In addition, Henry Barnstein, in 1992, in his study entitled "Agrarian Structures and Change in Sub-Saharan Africa" reports that poor and negative rates of return to investments in development projects increasingly frustrated and embarrassed the aid agencies especially the World Bank that were centrally involved in their design, finding and management. Thus, the economic crisis of the 1980s has tended to accentuate the unemployment situation and drastically undermined real incomes through rapid inflation.

A third condition, which may make targeting a given development program necessary is what Robert Chambers, in 1988, in his work on poverty in India, referred to as ascribed deprivation. Meaning that certain categories of people in a given country are more likely to be underdeveloped according to ascribed characteristics such as their gender (usually women), membership of a marginalized or oppressed group, ethnic or minority groups, low castes, tribes, age (children and the elderly).

Fourthly, targeting mechanisms are also necessary where development experiences in a country can be distinguished spatially. This may be applicable to certain regions, rural localities, or types of rural development experienced. Even villages may be underdeveloped than others. Moreover, a group of people or a given location can be distinguished according to their different livelihood strategies in the regions, or the geographical characteristics such as in arid areas.

Of equal importance is the fact that most countries in Africa exhibit rural-urban gap in various indicators like average per capita income, levels of human poverty, and access to the means of satisfying basic needs in nutrition, health and education. Therefore, targeting the rural areas in programs and projects aimed at bridging this gab seems to be necessary.

In addition, targeting may be necessary where there is need to help a group of people considered the most vulnerable or a transient group to survive serious short-term problems. Examples of such programs include safety nets and income transfers. Such programs aim at providing aid to people during their greatest need such as in crisis situation, economic shocks, drought, or epidemics.

Another reason is that not all the people in a country will benefit from policies that promote economic growth and improve social services like education and health care. It might take a long time for some group of people especially in remote regions to fully participate in such development. The old and the disabled may never be able to do so. Even among those sectors that benefited from other policies, there tend to be some who remain actively affected such as those who lost their jobs due to structural adjustments as well as those in temporary unemployment.

The attempt by African countries to restructure their national budgets can also make targeting development programs necessary. Countries are being advised by international financial organizations such as the IMF to cut expenditure and employ fiscal discipline in their budgets. An implication of this tends to be reduction in the number programs or projects that the government will finance. Thus targeting government expenditure in the most desirable areas may be necessary.

Finally, the new notion of human development, which puts people at the center of all development efforts based on exercising choices, cannot be fully captured without targeting. Targeting appears to be a way of putting the human development paradigm into practice.

The above conditions imply that if development programs were designed to ensure equitable welfare, then focusing the benefits on the needy clearly appears to be appropriate.

III. Likely objectives and priorities of a targeting policy:

A targeting policy can be designed with the aim of satisfying some stated objectives. These objectives are the desired outcomes in the proposed policy. Such objectives may include the following:

  1. To ensure equitable distribution of objects of development programs among major sectors of a given economy, such as micro-finance and credit to farmers.
  2. To remedy past discrimination, marginalization, or inequalities in the distribution of development programs;
  3. To increase participation of people in minority areas in development process;
  4. To increase diversity.
  5. To ensure efficiency of government expenditure on programs and projects in terms of cost effectiveness and fiscal discipline;
  6. To ensure even development of the various segments (regions, ethnic groups, tribes) classes in a given country;
  7. To encourage participation of targeted group(s) in the factors, which affect them; and
  8. Other desired outcomes as may be specified by a given policy maker.

Priorities, on the other hand, are the areas of emphasis or focus in the proposed policy, based on the assumption that the policy package may not satisfy the set of objectives. Sometimes it may be to merge some of the objectives to form priorities. Therefore, from the above set of objectives, it can be observed they are overlapping in some cases. The set of objectives is generally divided between the fundamental issue of the necessary tradeoff between efficiency and equity objectives. Thus the priority may have to be diagnosed in terms of these disparage objectives. For instance, the desire to ensure equitable distribution may necessarily involve heavy transaction costs, and costs of participation of the intended beneficiaries. Thus efficiency of the program may be undermined. On the other hand, if efficiency of government programs is to be met, costs of participation may be kept low and may encourage beneficiary involvement. Also, minimizing incentive costs tend to hold down total costs and reduce distortions. However, a government desire towards efficiency may be less equitable. In any case, priority should be determined relative to the consideration given to either the efficiency, or the distribution objective. Priority may also indicate a compromise between the disparaged objectives. Nevertheless, given the need to ensure discipline in government public spending in the face of increased competition for foreign aid by which programs are often financed, and the need to meet the requirements of foreign aid donors, priority should be given to efficiency of government programs.

IV: Policy options and testing their feasibility:

A policy option attempts to answer the question- how? Options are tentative solutions or approaches to the problem at hand. They are tentative because stand to be modified if it was observed that implementation of such a policy has been difficult. Thus, policy options here are concerned with different alternatives by which a targeting policy can be implemented. The major requirement is that an option should be feasible. Thus feasibility of a given option is determined by considering the likely costs and benefits of its future adoption. Such costs and benefits cut across financial, socioeconomic, and political considerations. They may be measured both qualitatively by description, and quantitatively by placing monetary values on them after subjecting financial values to the necessary shadow prices. Perhaps the most important of the three, which often are neglected in policy design and implementation, is the political consideration. The political consideration deals with issues surrounding interest groups and stakeholders in a given policy. This may be very important in countries where ethnic or tribal sentiments often play major roles in the polity.

It is imperative that a given option stands to be adopted if the identified benefits outweigh its costs. However, it should be noted that the criterion that benefits should be greater than the costs imply that such an option should have minimal adverse or negative effects on the stakeholders. And by costs are not necessarily limited to financial costs, but also social, economic, and political factors.

For the purpose of this paper, the following options are considered:

  1. Self-targeting option. The World Bank in targeting income transfers and safety nets has suggested this approach. More broadly, the self-targeting approach involves segmentation of program recipients according to their ascribed characteristics. This implies making targeting relational to class (as in women), tribe, ethnicity, and other characteristics.
  2. Demand oriented targeting. This means basing targeting on the diagnosed priority-needs of recipients. This is not based on ascribed characteristics, but intending beneficiaries 'come forward' by expressing their priority-needs. Such expression may be channeled through an intervention agency established by the government for this purpose. Thus, for a given group, or region, the intervention agency carefully evaluates the existing structures, and identifies priority areas before embarking on. The basic requirement here is data gathering.
  3. Location, or geographical targeting. This is useful where a group of intended beneficiaries are concentrated in a particular region.
  4. Flap-targeting. Flap targeting takes the form of allocation of federal funds or aid based on a quota system. The allocation may be adjusted upward for a given community or governmental unit. But it requires target beneficiaries to utilize a proportion of their aid for some stated priorities. An example is the US community development policy, which requires recipients to use 75% of their aid for low and moderate-income families.

In the first option, a self-targeting option has the benefit of reducing overall costs and in gaining political support. It tends to minimize incentive costs as well. However, a move towards efficiency may increase political tensions among other competing groups, particularly in an ethnically sensitive country such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Sudan. Also, it requires sufficient prior information about the recipients. Such information includes data about the intended beneficiaries such as class/social distribution especially of women. Studies have shown that one of the problems faced by African countries in their development efforts is lack of data and information. Thus the need to gather information may further add to the costs of the program. This extra cost might have not been included during program planning. In addition, a self-targeting option may not be practicable in a short-term period. Its practicability may also be constrained by government bureaucracies. It may be inequitable as well.

On the other hand, making targeting a demand driven tends to ensure flexibility of programs, ensure beneficiary participation, and hence sustainability of programs. It has the advantage of reaching the intended beneficiaries directly. Since it is based on their demand, it enables beneficiaries have control and monitor the performances of projects thus increasing their sustainability. Also, its flexibility tends to allow all sections of the country to participate in national development initiatives. Here, all sections, regions, ethnic groups, and all classes of social differentiation are potential targets of one program or another, provided that those who are concerned come forward to lay their demands before the government. In this case, while the deprived sections or groups tend to have government attention for their need, those sections, which are more developed or more privileged have the advantage of improving existing structures. In this way, a more even development of the country can be ascertained and sustained as well. Overall, it tends to be more politically and socially acceptable to the people. However, it may increase incentive costs, overhead costs, and transaction costs on the part of the government. In any case, the benefits outweigh the costs. The alternative targeting option tends to be more equitable in the long-term, but may be less efficient.

The third option, locational/geographical targeting is best employed by international aid agencies. It is relatively practicable in a short-term period. It is more effective in periods of emergency such as drought and flooding. However, attempt at making it a long-term approach tends to create political tension, especially in a multi-ethnic, tribal conscious society. There tends to be criticisms from other sections of the country. Government or implementing agency may be accused of concentrating public expenditure in a particular location/regions of the country. In this environment, the aims and objectives of programs may be sabotaged and defeated completely.

 

V: Efficiency and equity tradeoff.

An issue regarding targeting concerns the necessary tradeoff necessarily involved in implementing a targeted program. Thus, a given feasible option can be considered for adoption by looking at how a compromise can be reached between efficiency and distribution objectives. The efficiency issue may be considered in terms of the costs involved in ensuring that a given program reaches the target or intended group. These costs include costs of administering the program to governments, the transaction costs to recipients, and incentive costs to the economy. A move towards efficiency may also reduce political support for the program. However, demand oriented targeting tends to keep the costs of participation low and encourage involvement of beneficiaries. A well-designed and delivered program based on the expressed demand of intending beneficiaries can reduce transaction costs and enhance outcomes for them. Containing the costs of administering programs through the demand-oriented approach tends to improve sustainability of programs. The demand-oriented approach can be compared to the self-targeting approach in terms of reducing overall costs and gaining political support, however, success in self-targeting requires sufficient information about the potential beneficiaries, for example about their consumption behavior. This information can be gained only through careful analysis of household data and careful monitoring of the effects of programs.

Furthermore, a concern for efficiency tends to minimize incentive costs, which in turn lowers total costs and reduces distortions. Incentive costs are often difficult to measure. Making programs demand oriented can minimize incentive costs. Locational/geographical targeting also can reduce costs, but only when the identified beneficiaries are concentrated in particular regions.

On the other hand, the desire to ensure equitable distribution of programs tends to increase costs considerably. As will be exemplified in a country-experience later, the net distribution effect of development program may create policy dilemmas for targeting development programs. Thus, it is viewed that a given option should be considered in terms of relative contribution to the efficiency compared to the redistribution objectives. In the presence of the necessary tradeoffs between conflicting objectives, and the need to aid allocation of scarce resources in accordance with their most productive uses, the efficiency consideration is likely to serve as a benchmark by which targeting policy may be designed effectively.

 

VI: Translating an option into action/program

A feasible option becomes a policy action when it is translated into action. An action may be defined in terms of implementation of a given program or project. The question of whether a policy succeeds, is effective, or otherwise is observed during implementation. Therefore, an approved program of action requires coordination of various sectors involved in the implementation of the adopted options such as data gathering by involving various institutions. It requires monitoring in order to observe the realities of the beneficiaries.

An important requirement is the consideration for the stakeholders' interests. The stakeholders' interest distinguishes policy making from policy implementation. Therefore it is thought that the potential influence of stakeholders should not be overlooked. Stakeholders include interest groups such as professional associations, lobbyists, and pressure groups such as trade unions. In a democracy, this potential influence on a given policy is thought to be a right. But such rights may not be allowed in a dictatorial regime such as the military. The stakeholders' role is crucial in any public decision making process as they can go at any length to influence a policy decision. Thus for a targeting option, public reactions must be tested before it becomes operational. This is in order to ensure its acceptance by the public. Reactions may take any form ranging from public commendation, peaceful demonstrations, strikes, effective use of the press, to outright sabotage of a given program.

VII: Lessons from country experiences:

It has been established that considering lessons from other countries’ experiences in policy making can best assess effective policy initiatives, rather than abstract models that often becomes inapplicable during policy implementation. Although local conditions may be quite different from country to country, however this does not mean that one cannot learn from a country’s experience. For the purpose of this paper, the experiences of targeting performance in South Africa, Malaysia, and Bulgaria in poverty alleviation programs is compared to the recent experience of Nigeria in targeting the Petroleum (profits) Trust Fund (PTF).

(i) The South African Experience. Based on a 1997 World Bank discussion paper on income transfers in South Africa. The program has among its objectives an attempt to revise and expand poverty alleviation program from the apartheid era in South Africa. The target was the non-white black African population. The black Africans were considered the most underdeveloped. The authors examine the question of whether the South African government should be using its welfare budget to target the beneficiaries of poverty programs. In essence, the targeted population was clearly diagnosed according to three priority areas. These were old age pensions, maintenance grants for children, and food-based transfers. However, it was discovered that the objective can better be served by what the researchers called alternative targeting such as income transfer. This implies that the program satisfied the diagnosed subprograms in different ways. Hence further or future targeting should take alternative forms. For instance, the pension program was said to have achieved equity as it provided redress for past inequalities. Therefore racial equality appeared to have been achieved. On the other hand, access to maintenance grants for children were made available to all eligible population based on the needs expressed from the various segments of the black population. However, unlike old age pensions, maintenance grants for children are not saturated and potential take up was uncertain. This was exemplified by the low take up rates among African population. The authors observed that the low take up rate has been due to lower income cut-off, higher rates of customary marriage, and absence of knowledge about the benefits. This performance evaluation simply suggests the likely direction of future needs. Hence where targeting might be directed in the future. It also suggests that targeting the African population would only involve income transfers in the future as alternative to that of old age pension. On the other hand, that of maintenance of children might only be limited to providing information or programs aimed at curtailing high population growth rates and disseminating knowledge of the potential benefits to the population. In all, the South African case exemplified closely to the demand oriented option.

(ii) The case of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian case exemplified the need for extensive data gathering and information on the intended beneficiary of a given development program. Based on a 1995 World Bank policy research working paper No. 1450, the authors analyzed the structure of income at the household level in Bulgaria. The aim was to identify who the poor people are, and how these people are reached by the social safety net. A significant finding in this study is that the head of household in Bulgaria tends to be older, a woman, poorly educated, and unemployed. The authors also found that poor households are not necessarily larger households in Bulgaria, unlike in other developing countries. In addition, the sources of income in poor Bulgarian households reveals that the poor depended on for more than half of their income on social benefits (especially pensions). These findings suggest a future direction of targeting, say by safety nets. As expected, the authors conclude that there is a need for comprehensive reform of social benefits, which should focus on pensions, unemployment benefits, child allowances, and social assistance. Thus, consistent analysis of household data in Bulgaria by the authors allows one to easily identify the priority needs of the poor, hence where targeting should focus. It also shows the role of data gathering in policy making.

(iv) The experience of Malaysia. In a study of "The Distributional Effects of Social Sector Expenditures in Malaysia (1974 –1989)" published in 1995, Hamme, Jeffreys and others use household level data on the targeting public services to examine changes and related improvements in health status and educational attainment. During the period, Malaysia adopted social services, particularly health care and basic education as a strategy for reducing poverty and economic disparities away from its ethnic groups. That is the program targeted the poor ethnic groups in Malaysia. The authors observe that the targeting performance of government expenditures improved over the period except for higher education. But the poor generally captured the largest share of benefits from social expenditures.

For education, primary level enrolment became universal. According to the authors, expansion of the educational system came as a result of ethnically based targeting policies that reached lower and lower income groups. In contrast, improved targeting of the health care came about as richer income groups opted out of the public system to use private practitioners. However, while provision of elementary and secondary school targeted the poor ethnic groups, higher education is regressively subsidized thus creating a false convergence. The authors conclude that the net distribution effect of overall education spending is flat with respect to income, and higher education enrollment rates are lower when compared to other similar countries. Thus, creating policy dilemmas for targeting. The Malaysian case shows that targeting policy towards basic social infrastructure when made ethnically based tends to achieve progressive results at a level comparable to the level of income. For instance, targeting education tends to have positive effects at the elementary and secondary levels (i.e. levels for low-income groups), in contrast to higher education. It also points to the importance of data gathering in a targeting policy. And desegregation of data into specific categories rather than based on a collective ethnically identified social services. It can also be implied from the study that expenditures on these social services tend to be influenced by the income levels in these ethnic groups, such as primary education and preventive health care rather than higher education and curative heath care respectively. Put another way, it suggests that in order to be effective, targeting in low-income ethnic groups should focus on preventive health care rather than curative heath. Finally, that policy dilemma tends to result where unfavorable impacts are observed with targeting policy and choices have to be made. In the next period of public expenditure, alternative targeting appears to be a way of alleviating policy dilemma.

(v) The Petroleum (profits) Trust Fund (PTF) Nigeria. The PTF was created in 1994 as an intervention agency. It has among its objectives the utilization of increased petroleum product prices for provision/rehabilitation of infrastructure projects. The intended beneficiaries are the regions or areas considered or identified as ‘backward’ in the country. Thus, the PTF provides a simple case of targeting. The PTF consists mainly of social and economic infrastructure projects. Its brief existence shows the difficulties that can be experienced with targeting in ethnic or tribal sensitive societies. In its operation there was no clear policy for the extent and method of targeting. The method adopted can be compared to the locational/geographical targeting option. However, while the PTF lasted, it remained a subject of controversies and criticisms among the three major ethnic/tribal groups in Nigeria. Although existing sub-ethnic groups in Nigeria are quite numerous, they are generally narrowed down to the three (Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba). The Northerners, consist mainly of the Hausa-Fulani tribe, were in support of the program because they appear to be the least developed region in Nigeria. The North consists of 14 states. The East, on the other hand, consists mainly of the Igbo, and 10 states; and the Southwest, consists mainly of Yoruba, has 12 states. The East and the Southwest relatively are considered more developed regions. Based on the objective of the program, and within the general perception in Nigeria, relatively the North should be a major beneficiary of the PTF program/projects.

However, the two other regions had criticized the implementation of the PTF program as being lopsided. It has been accused of favoring one particular tribe or section of the country, at the expense of the others. Its implementation was also subjected to political criticisms. The Northerners saw the intervention agency as making a significant impact on the lives of the people (of the North) through its contribution in the area of socioeconomic infrastructure projects such as education, health care, water supply, and opening the rural North. On the contrary, the South and East generally saw the program as a waste of national resources, a creation of parallel government, unnecessary duplication of objects of public expenditure, and unnecessary transfer of national resources from the South to the North. It was criticized on political grounds as being unconstitutional. Also that it exacerbated corruption in the country, lacked transparency, and exacerbated existing levels of inequalities across the country. In principle, the PTF has targeted areas (or zones) considered in need of those amenities. However it suffered from ethnic or tribal sensitiveness of the Nigerian polity.

(VII.a) : PTF Regional distribution of Projects:

Since the PTF appears to be a more recent experience in targeting development program/ projects, its allocation of funds is analyzed as shown in the List of Tables at the end of this paper. The data had been obtained from various recent newspaper reports in Nigeria. In the PTF, the federation is segmented into 6 zones as shown in Table 1. Zone 1 comprised of the ‘core’ North and so on (See Table 1).

Table 2 shows the distribution of road rehabilitation projects embarked upon by the PTF program. The World Bank report, 1998/1999 indicates that less than 30% of Nigerian roads are tarred, compared to 82% in Egypt. The general dilapidation of Nigerian roads demands for general rehabilitation of roads. There is no Zone or any state of the federation, which may be exempted. However, as the distribution shows, the North central alone (comprises of only 6 states) were allocated 4,295.44Km, representing over 33% of the total projects. This figure is twice the total allocation to both Zone 6 and Zone 2 (a total of 11 states).

Table 3 shows the distribution of social infrastructures. Demand for these services are significantly high all over Nigeria. Whereas some states may said to lack these amenities, in most of the states they are not functioning. Zone 3, which consists of 7 states, received 336 projects, representing about 35% of the total number of projects. This figure is more than any other three zones such as Zones 1, 2, and 6 put together

Table 4 shows expenditure on National Education Materials Procurement Program (NEMPP). Again, Zone 3 received 31.5% of total expenditure. However, the distribution shows a more equitable distribution of expenditure for other five Zones ranging between 11% to about 15%.

Finally, Table 5 shows the distribution of expenditure on food supply projects. Here, over 60% of the total expenditure went to Zone 3. This is greater than all other zones put together. The same also can be observed in Table 6, which shows the distribution of expenditure to the health sector. Here as well, Zone 3 received about 55.4% of the total expenditure.

It is thought important to look at the issues raised in these observations. Firstly, it became an issue whether this particular zone, Zone 3, or the seven states are the most backward or in most need in Nigeria. The debates, criticisms, and controversies which, had been generated among the interest and pressure groups in the country in attempts to find explanations for this issue has been notable. Also, the observations appear to support the hypothesis that the PTF was designed to divert resources by targeting projects to the North at the expense of the South. Secondly, a close examination of the tables suggests unnecessary duplication of projects. For instance, if Tables 3, 4, and 6 are compared, they are mainly education and health programs/projects. It would have been more efficient if these programs were considered under a single education rehabilitation or health program. Having separate programs for each of education and health, another for national health, and yet another for national education materials procurement tends to encourage corruption. It may affect the effectiveness in terms of increased transaction costs and incentive costs. In addition, the design of the PTF program appears to contradict the overall objectives of the program. Given the level of demand for the infrastructure services in Nigeria generally, the PTF neither appears to support efficiency objective in terms of cost reductions, nor equity objective in terms of even distribution of programs among the zones. It has not been clear whether the beneficiaries participated in the implementation of the programs. Furthermore, targeting by location or by geographical region appears to have been the main source of criticisms against the PTF and the eventual lack of political support. Finally, the brief analysis of the Nigerian experience suggests that targeting tends to be a sensitive issue particularly in an ethnic or tribal conscious society, that the extent and method of targeting should be carried out with great care.

Some significant conclusions can be drawn by comparing the countries’ which, may influence the targeting performance of a given development program. In the Nigerian case, the role of ethnicity and tribal sensitiveness is considered a significant factor. Other country experiences do not show this significance. Also, with the exception of the Nigerian case, other countries’ experiences show the importance of data gathering and information about intended beneficiaries when targeting development programs. Sufficient data on the prospective recipients tends to permit evaluation of existing structure, to determine where progress has been made, and simultaneous identification of future priority needs. This is exemplified in the Malaysian case by the desegregation of data into specific categories of social services rather than based on collective social services. These two factors tend to influence the effectiveness of and the political support (i.e. making it socially and politically acceptable to the public) for development programs.

VIII: Policy requirements and recommendations:

Three requirements or watchwords are necessary in the design and implementing a targeting policy. These are effectiveness; which ensures that target group benefits directly from the program, minimal cost; in order to ensure efficiency, and optimal political support, which guarantees sustainability of program, and ensures participation of interest/pressure groups and stakeholders. Therefore when designing policy for targeting development programs and in considering feasible options for adoption, it is essential that these requirements or criteria are met. In addition, policy makers in this area should carefully consider several other factors recommended, which are enumerated as follows:

  1. Possible use of racial and ethnic neutral approach that could achieve the same goals. The demand oriented approach, which ensures alternative targeting is recommended.
  2. Possible consideration of more than financial costs of projects, in order to reduce risks. This concern further consideration for stakeholder issues, politics and ethnicity;
  3. Ensure flexibility of program distribution by avoiding a strict quota system and subject distribution of projects to demand driven;
  4. Impact on non-minority regions and groups as well as the expected extent, duration of the program through close monitoring, and coordination of programs;
  5. National government should monitor and maintain country human development profiles based on desegregated data, information, and indicators. These profiles should spell out past achievements, continuing human deprivation, disparities, and future goals. However, it should be noted that this requires rigorous data gathering in order to adequately identify present and future priority needs of a given section, or region in the country.
  6. Targeting policies should be designed as part of comprehensive national development strategies for poverty alleviation and human development. Effective targeting is seen as a way of bridging the gap between economic growth and human development. Nevertheless, this requires the participation of all the segments of a given African country regardless of social, class differentiation or ethnic affiliation. It should constantly seek a viable political strategy to develop national consensus and public support for economic and social reforms. This also requires decentralization of all development initiatives and create incentives which encourage private sector initiatives as well;
  7. At the national level, international development agencies should be involved in order to reduce political pressures on the government. In this case, intergovernmental units should have access to the agencies in their respective capacity as independent regional government;
  8. Governments should create an active civil society. NGOs and community groups could also play a vital role in enhancing human development. These groups tend to supplement governmental efforts in provision of services. They can extend certain services to people and groups who otherwise have remained under-served. NGOs can also play a vital advocacy role by motivating public opinion and community participation and helping shape development priorities; and

IX: Conclusion:

Firstly, the demand-oriented targeting option can be seen as a more practicable option compared to other stated options. This is in terms of its potentials for ensuring flexibility of programs through alternative methods, beneficiary participation, sustainability of programs, the advantage of reaching the intended beneficiaries directly, and socially and politically acceptable to the public. It should be noted, however, that fiscal decentralization that may result from demand oriented targeting tends to pose a challenge to the targeting of programs in resource-poor regions. Some evidence suggests that the poor in resource-poor regions may not gain from decentralization if revenue assignment does not match new expenditure responsibilities. In the future, more analytical work may be required in this area.

Secondly, current thinking in the field of development emphasizes creation of the link between economic growth and human development. There is no automatic link between a country's per capita income (a measure of its economic growth) and the distribution of or access to basic human needs (a measure of its human development). Therefore such creation necessarily requires the use by which national income (GNP) is put relative to the provision of both economic and social infrastructure. It is thought that targeting has a significant role to play in the creation of this link, so that the need for adequate targeting policy cannot be overemphasized. Lastly, an emerging fact from the discussion so far is that targeting development programs as development process itself, is potentially conflictual. An all-important question for African states becomes how to manage such conflicts in a forward-looking manner. This concerns how policies can be effected such that different ethnic groups or tribal sentiments, which characterized African societies come to an explicit or implicit consensus where losers (or the marginalized groups) would accept the need for participation in the development of their regions. And winners (or the more privileged) would accept the need for adjustment, reallocation of, and more equitable distribution national resources across the country.

 

X: List of tables:

Table 1: The six zones in Nigeria:

Zone

States in each Zone

Total No. of States

Geographical Location/Major Ethnic groups

1 Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo

6

Southwest/Yoruba
2 Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo

5

Southeast/ Ibo
3 Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara

7

Northwest/Hausa-Fulani
4 Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Jos

6

North Central/Hausa-Fulani
5 Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, (and FCT)

6 plus FCT

Middle-belt (Tiv)/Mixed ethnic groups
6 Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers

6

Mid west/ ‘core’ South (Urobo, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Igbo, etc.)
  Total Number of States

36+ FCT

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Distribution of road rehabilitation projects

Zones

Distance (in Km)

% of Total

1

1,984.5

14.92

2

977.9

7.35

3 & 5

4,557.03

34.27

4

4,299.44

32.33

6

1,478.03

11.12

Total Distance(Km)

13,296.9 Km

100 %

 

Table 3: National Health & Education Rehabilitation Program (NHERP)

Zones

No. of Projects

% of Total

1

51

5.29

2

39

4.04

3

336

34.82

4

212

21.97

5

139

14.40

6

188

19.84

Total

965

100%

 

Table 4: The National Education Materials Procurement Program (NEMPP)

Zones

Expenditure (N)

% of Total

1

1.2 billion

17.55

2

0.7439 billion

10.88

3

2.155 billion

31.52

4

0.7723 billion

11.30

5

0.9975 billion

14.59

6

0.9686 billion

14.17

Total

N 6.8373 Billion

100%

 

Table 5: Food Supply Sector

Zones

Expenditure (N)

% of Total

1

NA

-

2

N 792.3 million

4.02

3

N 11.945 billion

60.54

4

NA

-

5

NA

-

6

N 1.039 billion

5.27

Totala

NA

-

a: The Total is not relevant here as the focus of analysis is on Zone 3.

Table 6: Health Sector

Zones

No. of Projects

% of Entire Package

1

NA

-

2

NA

-

3

263

55.37

4

116

24.42

5

NA

-

6

NA

-

Totalb

NA

-

b: as in (a) in Table 5, the Total is not relevant here as the focus of analysis is on Zone 3.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________

Mohamed Damilola Olajide, Office of African Studies; The American University in Cairo (AUC), Cairo, Egypt.
E-mail: olajide@aucegypt.edu ; olajide98@hotmail.com


 

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