Poverty is an old age concept in economic literature. This concept has inundated the economic political and social climates in Nigeria. The hydra headed Munster has been tackled by various Nigerian governments; Conditional Cash Transfers‘ (CCT) is one of those strategies‘ employed in recent time. The conditional cash transfer program (CCTP) is a recent development in poverty alleviation strategy by the Nigerian government. It is a program that gives cash incentive to parents to send their children to school. The program was first initiated in Mexico in 1997 when they realized the essence of building human capital for economic growth and breaking poverty circle. Nigeria developed its own version of the Conditional Cash Transfer called ‗Project Comfort‘ in 2007. The project was first initiated in three states Gombe, Bauchi and Katsina, as a pilot to encourage enrollment in most impoverished, with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations International Children Educational Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank also have CCTs designed specifically to improve enrolment of children within the universal basic education (Holmes et al., 2011,).
The poverty rate in Nigeria has doubled over the past two decades despite strong economic growth: at 69% with a total population of over 170 million out of which 70% as extremely poor and above 60% of the population are below 18 years (World Bank Report, 2014). The distribution is disproportionate given the nature of this percentage, it is significant to incorporate this people into social welfare system that would bridge the gap and reduce the extent of inequality accessibility and availability of some of the basic needs like education, health and housing. Therefore CCT is seen as a project that would encourage poor household to send their kids to school in other to enhance the enrolment rate and reduce mortality rate in the process.
Prior to pilot take off in the CCT program in 2009, Gombe State recorded poverty rate of 61.26% in 2004 and this rose to 72.3% in 2010 with non-poor (above poverty line) of 27.3% compared to Lagos and Abuja with 59.2% and 59.9% respectively (NBS Nigeria, 2012). Evidence from Gombe state health statistical data in 2014 shows that mortality rate was estimated to be 1,025/100,000. This figure appears to be considerably high for a developing nation. Consequently, to close the rank between mortality and poverty rate, the state government introduces the CCT program because of the health component so as to reduce the motility rate in the state. An intuition that may likely suffice as self-evidence is that State with high poverty incident may tend to be associated with high mortality rate. For instance, based on World Bank (2014) survey on mortality in Nigeria‘s under-five mortality rate is among the highest in the world (ranked 18th out of 193 countries). This suggests that there could be some possible link between high cost of health care and low utilization of medical services which may have been exacerbated by the crisis of diminishing purchasing power in some cases this may even lead to inability to pay for increasing drug and cost of treatment. Meanwhile, indirect and direct costs of schooling may be contributing to low educational attainment, with net attendance at primary school at 62.1% National Population Commission (NPC, 2008).
Evidence from National Literacy Survey (2010) shows overall adult literacy rate was 71.6 % and youth literacy rate in any language was 85.6%, out of which 28.4% are non literate adult and 14.4% are non literate youth. Among the adult literacy male share accounted for about 79.3% while that of the female was 63.7% respectively. Unfortunately, majority of Nigeria‘s non-literate population are found to be based in the northern region of the country because educational awareness appears to be less compared with other part of the country. There is a belief that majority of these illiterates could be inhabitant of the rural areas. The Northern part of the country tends to have more of its population being poor, for instance, states like Jigawa is considered as the poorest among the North West state with 87% poverty incidence. Typical characteristics of the poor are high illiteracy rate, as well as high mortality rate especially among children below the age of five. Poverty Incidence by State (PIS 2009)
The indices from Annual Abstract of Statistics (2012) shows that a cross-section of the population in Gombe state have more share of non-educated population as poor compared to the educated population .The statistic reveals that 68.7% of the total non-educated population remain poor while only 50% of educated population was recorded as being poor . This shows that lack of education in Gombe state accounts for more poverty with about 18.7%.
Existing literatures shows that there is a strong nexus between poverty and level of education on the one hand and the level of education and culture/ tradition. For instance People or households with low level of education are generally assumed to be poor. The low level of education may be a function of the cultural background of the individual. A more vibrant poverty alleviation strategy especially in situations where cultural factors played a role in understanding the relationship between poverty, education and culture, one of such program adopted by the Nigerian government is the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT). It is a program that gives cash incentive to parent to send their children to school and register them with a health clinic.
Gombe state is a part are increasingly responding to the Education Sector Support Program in Nigeria (ESSPIN), one of such program in recent time is the conditional cash transfer (CCT).The CCT is a poverty alleviation strategy initiated to understand some cultural factors that play a vital role in understanding relationship between education and culture and how these factor can be arrested to ensure high school enrolment, accessibility and utilization of health care facilities as well as indirectly reducing poverty among group of individuals and households is an intervention program in which state are actively involved by ensuring that the less privileged children get access to Education and healthcare. Gombe state in particular is actively involved in this program.
Statistics has shown that in 2004 over 60% of individual in Gombe state lived below poverty level, the state is classified as one of the poorest state in Nigeria. This could be attributed to limited access to quality education provision but also limit the domestic resources available to Gombe for education development. This result is based on Gombe State and its LGAs regarding federal government funding. Funding formulas used to allocate federal resources across states result in a very low allocation to Gombe State and its LGAs. Coupled with the limited availability of internally generated revenue this has a significant impact on the quantity and quality of education services that Gombe State has been able to provide. The Education Strategy Plan (ESP) proposal in 2009-2018
With the CCT currently going on in Gombe state, it is significant to investigate and evaluate the impact of the program on poverty through it link with school enrolment, and other key expected outcome of the project in a socio-cultural environment such as Gombe- state.
The problem of poverty is an intricate one, a serious concern to most governments in developing countries. Indices of poverty manifest in the form of low per capita income; malnutrition, high mortality rate and morbidity especially for children below five years, low literacy rate etc. Nigeria the number 6th and 8th in gas reserves in the world, yet the country is still struggling to sustain growth and improve the lives of its citizens. Even though growth has averaged 6% since 2004 to 2015, yet population living below 2% remain above 80% with only 48% of Nigeria as being access to electricity in 2010, Unemployment rate was estmated 24% in 2013, (World Bank Development Indicators2015)
Gombe State is one of the states in Nigeria with high incidence of poverty. It was estimated in 2009 to be 71.4%. Only about 30% of children within the school age actually attend school, and
the enrollment distribution is disproportionate for boys and girls (PIS).The low level of enrolment rate and high poverty level is not peculiar to Gombe state alone, and many studies have found out that there is a strong nexus between poverty, level of education and literacy rate level in Nigeria. For example literacy rate in Nigeria shows an unequal distribution among gender, age group, region etc .The adult literacy rate in Nigeria shows that the Northern part of the country‘s has the least compared to the other region, it was estimated to be North West 70.1%, North East with 62.8%, North Central 61.9%, South
South 75.4, South West 77.9 , South East75.1% respectively, bearing in mind that North West has seven state and South East has five state. Unfortunately, majority of Nigerian illiterate population are based in the northern part of the country. There is little or no doubt that majority of these illiterates are females (NBS 2010).
There is higher level of girls‘ enrolment in schools and higher number of learned women from the south than in the north as that could be authenticated if one looks at our institutions of learning and places of work where the women of southern extraction are engaged in different careers. Of the states in the north, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Bauchi, Adamawa and Borno states are said to have more illiterate women compared to the other states in the same region (tolulope 2013)
Poverty is important in determining both school attendance and learning outcome and as well correlated with socio-economic status of student households; poor children tend to have lower levels of literacy and numeracy compared to their non-poor counterparts. This also affects gender imbalance which is higher in poor households where decisions on schooling tend to exclude some children in the household Education Support Program (ESP).
Gombe state is one of the states whose government has put so much effort to ensure increase in school enrollment and health attendance as a means of alleviating poverty. Using the CCT poverty alleviation program has been policy discourse globally and assessment of such program has also been a means of assessing the progress made so far in achieving or improving the social wellbeing of citizen this program set to target. The evaluation outcome have always been used by successive government to draw policy framework on how to empowered or drawing new policy framework from the reviewed past policy. Thus, this study intend to investigate and examine the impact of the CCT project on school enrollment and health attendance, and the perception of CCT program on poverty reduction in Gombe state.
The issues of poverty and poverty alleviation programs have become major policy discourse globally. To this extent the research work has generated a set of questions which would guide this work. The questions include;
- What are the socioeconomic characteristics of the sampled household head in the selected communities?
- To what extent has CCT program improved on school enrollment and health attendance of children of the sampled communities?
- What is the perception of the sampled household heads toward CCT program in poverty reduction?
- What are the challenges of Conditional Cash Transfer Program in the study location?
The main objective of this study is to Implementation Of Cash Transfer Policy On Poverty Alleviation In Nigeria. A Study Of Balanga L.G.A Of Gombe State
The specific objectives include the following:
- To evaluate the socioeconomic characteristics of the sampled household heads in the selected communities.
- To evaluate the extent to which CCT program can improve on school enrollment and health attendance of children of the sampled communities.
- To examine the perceptions of the sampled household heads toward CCT program in poverty reduction.
- To identity the challenges associated with the conditional cash transfer in the study location.
The main and specific objectives of this study have been specified in the preceding section. The associated research hypotheses are as follow:
- Ho: Conditional Cash Transfer has not improved school enrolment, attendance and health status of the children in the study area.
- Ho: that the conditional cash transfer will not guarantee poverty alleviation in the study area.
Significance of the Study
The motivation behind this study is that Poverty is pervasive in our economy, particularly in the Northern part of the countries where the socio-economic consequences such as street begging, low enrollment rate, primary and secondary school dropout is prevalent, despite attempts to alleviate it by federal, and state governments have not yielded the desired results. Evidence from National Literacy Survey(2010) shows that, about 1.5 million children of primary school age were not attending any school. The number represents 8.1% of the population of children 6-14 years of age. Most likely the northern part of the country will have more dropout than any part of the country because of low level of educational awareness.
The outcome of the study will serve as road map for other state that are yet to adopt the CCT program. Also because this is an impact study, the findings will provide a fair picture of the performance of the CCT program among the pilot states. Similarly this work will be beneficial for reference material for further studies in the academic environment. In addition the study seek to know the extent of the success and the weakness of the program, because there have been various poverty intervention programs initiated by the past and present government to alleviate poverty in Nigeria most of the program do not yield the required result due to the gap in the socio and cultural background and as well the level of education among the populace. This has resulted to low level of literacy which partly account for low level of development in Nigeria. CCT program has integrated these variables in to consideration; the study will evaluate the role of these variables in poverty reduction in Gombe state.
Scope and Limitation
The study is situated in Of Balanga L.G.A Of Gombe State using stratify sampling technique from conditional cash transfer program. The justification for drawing Balanga L.G.A Of Gombe State was based on the large share of the population residing within the areas. Similarly the assumption guiding the movement into the urban centers from the rural areas is the search for sustenance and the need to escape from the prevailing incidence of poverty among other things. Therefore this study considers a section of this population important.
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