DFID's Programme in Nigeria - International Development Committee Contents


DFID's Programme
1.In such a vast and diverse country, we believe that DFID is right to focus on a limited number of States where the standards of governance are sufficient to permit an aid programme to operate at a meaningful level and have a significant impact. These focus States need to be chosen carefully and to reflect DFID's overriding priority of poverty reduction. The Federal Government and the focus States should be encouraged and supported to share information about successful programmes so that other States can replicate them using their own resources. (Paragraph 26)
Provision of basic services
2.It is vital that Nigeria meets the challenge of ensuring a reliable power supply with sufficient capacity to meet the needs of its people. If it fails to do so, the country's economic development and progress towards the MDGs will be jeopardised. This is therefore a crucial area for donor support and we welcome DFID's contribution through the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility: building capacity within Nigeria's public sector to plan, manage and implement major projects will be a key factor in transforming the power supply. DFID is a major donor to the World Bank and shares the goals for Nigeria set out in the joint Country Partnership Strategy. It should use this position to ensure that reform and improvement of the power sector remains a high priority for World Bank activity in Nigeria. (Paragraph 32)
3.At present, Nigeria is failing to exploit the potential of its economically productive people. Moreover, in an ethnically diverse country with a long history of political instability, the existence of large numbers of young unemployed men presents risks to stability and security. Nigeria needs support from donors to build its non-oil economic sectors and to generate jobs. DFID's Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) programme clearly has the potential to bring much needed jobs to Nigeria. The current target of 100,000 jobs is a promising start. However, given the size of the population in Nigeria and its rapid growth, and existing high levels of unemployment, it is important that it acts as a catalyst for Nigeria's State and Federal Governments to allocate resources to create similar programmes of their own. We recommend that further details about the economic sectors in which the GEMS jobs will be created, and in which parts of Nigeria, are provided in response to this report. We also request further information about how DFID's job generation programme is expected to complement the work of other donors and the Nigerian government's own efforts to create employment opportunities, and facilitate economic growth and private sector development (Paragraph 39)
4.We note that the Growth and Employment in States programme is expected to benefit 600,000 people in Nigeria. The recent DFID White Paper gives an overall commitment to create jobs which will benefit 7.5 million people in five countries. This leaves nearly 7 million beneficiaries to be reached through DFID's programmes in the other four countries in the next five years (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal and Yemen). We request, in response to this Report, a breakdown of the number of beneficiaries which DFID expects there to be in each of these four countries and further details about the types of employment it expects to generate through its programmes in each case. (Paragraph 40)
5.Nigeria's future economic growth will require much greater access to finance and banking services for small and medium-sized business, and for individuals. The DFID- supported Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access for the Poor (EFINA) project has done valuable work to establish statistics on the existing levels of access. It now needs to move quickly to the next stage of devising schemes which will fill the gaps and help businesses and individuals to gain access to loans and financial services. We believe that EFINA should also seek to exploit the potential of banking services through mobile phone technology which has worked so effectively in other African countries. (Paragraph 44)
6.DFID's support for Nigeria's health services has provided significant resources and made a real impact on services in the States where the programmes have operated. However, there is still a very long way to go until service provision is anywhere near adequate, even in the States where DFID is providing assistance. DFID's focus in the second stage of its Partnership for Transforming Health Systems Strengthening programme seems to us to be the correct one: as in other areas of public services, the emphasis must continue to be on building up the Nigerian authorities' own ability to plan, fund and deliver health care and improving the level of co-ordination between the different tiers of government. It is vital that those least able to pay for health services are given priority in measures to increase access. The new Country Partnership Strategy states that the poor and vulnerable will be a key focus for health service support from donors. We invite DFID to provide us with further information, in response to this Report, on how this targeted assistance will be delivered. (Paragraph 50)
7.Malaria is a major cause of child death in Nigeria and has a serious impact on economic output. Bed-nets are a cheap and effective way of preventing malaria and we commend DFID's significant support for the Nigerian National Malaria Programme. We recommend that DFID provide us with further details of progress on implementation of the programme in response to this Report. (Paragraph 53)
8.Better maternal health in Nigeria will only be achieved if there is improvement in two areas: access to and quality of health services; and women's status in society. Changing negative attitudes to women requires a innovative and multi-dimensional approach. It is unacceptable that women's lives are being lost in childbirth because some societies fail to value them and allow them the access to the care which they need. DFID has a clear commitment to gender equality. Improving maternal health is an integral part of progress towards such equality. We accept that donors must act sensitively in raising these issues, and must take account of varying societal factors in different countries and in different regions of the same country, but maternal mortality rates, particularly in northern Nigeria, provide a clear indication that the most basic rights of many of the country's women are not being met. We recommend that DFID, in partnership with the Nigerian authorities, other donors and with organisations which have been successful in changing attitudes to women elsewhere in Africa, devote more resources and effort towards ensuring that real progress is made on reducing the number of women who die needlessly through lack of care. This would be a major justification for DFID's Nigeria programme, which is large in terms of the contribution made by the UK taxpayer but small in proportion to the scale of the challenge. (Paragraph 60)
9.We support DFID's view that it is for the State governments in Nigeria to provide education, not DFID. However, the capacity of States to do this remains weak and DFID's Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) is providing much-needed assistance to increase government's ability to provide education. The support through ESSPIN for the integration of religious and secular education in Islamiyya schools in northern Nigeria is an innovative approach which we welcome. It is essential for the development of the country that all children have access to good quality education in subjects which will help them to find employment and improve their life chances. The impact of DFID's support for Islamiyya schools does, however, require careful monitoring. We recommend that DFID provide us with further information, in response to this Report, on the evaluation it plans to undertake on the effectiveness of the ESSPIN programme and in particular the Islamiyya element. (Paragraph 68)
10.The disparity between the number of boys and girls in school, particularly in northern Nigeria, is a clear indication of gender inequality. UNICEF's Girls Education Project, supported by DFID, has demonstrated that resistance to sending girls to school can be overcome if the barriers are addressed in a sensitive way. We recommend that DFID continue its support for UNICEF's work and seek to build on this where it has proved effective in increasing girls' enrolment rates. (Paragraph 72)
11.Fair and free elections are not the only element in a functioning democracy but they are an essential one and give a clear indication of whether a developing country is making the necessary progress towards proper governance. The 2007 elections demonstrated that Nigeria is a long way from achieving this. The political elite needs to do more to demonstrate that it understands that politicians are accountable to the people, that political power must be bestowed by the people through the ballot box, and that it has moved away from a situation where power is carved up between those with vested interests, in a crude "sharing of the spoils". We believe that donors, including DFID, need to apply increased pressure on the Nigerian authorities, and work with them, to continue to reform the political system. This should include a new and fully independent Electoral Commission, whose recommendations are properly considered and implemented. (Paragraph 85)
12.We have made clear in the past our view that parliamentarians have a specific and important role to play in promoting transparency and accountability in developing countries. Nigeria has a long way to go in this respect and it is vital that the National Assembly is assisted by the international community to understand and fulfil its scrutiny role. We are not convinced that DFID yet understands the centrality of parliaments to effective governance and this is reflected in the small proportion of DFID's governance budget which goes to parliaments. We urge DFID to live up to the renewed commitment to transparency and accountability made in the White Paper by ensuring that support to the Nigeria National Assembly is a central and properly funded pillar of its new Deepening Democracy in Nigeria programme. DFID should provide specific support to the National Assembly to help develop robust mechanisms for holding the government to account, and to assist individual parliamentarians and parliamentary committees to become more effective. (Paragraph 91)
13.We support DFID's approach that puts good governance at the core of its programme in Nigeria. It is right that corruption should be tackled both through direct and overt support for bodies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and through programmes which reduce opportunities for corruption and build Nigeria's own systems of accountability and transparency. However, this is a battle which is nowhere near being won: as DFID acknowledges, corruption remains endemic in Nigeria. It is a canker which, if not removed, will continue to obstruct improvement in the lives of millions of poor Nigerians. We recommend that DFID and its international partners continue to press the Nigerian Government to prioritise tackling corruption as the most effective route to overcoming many of the other obstacles which threaten development in the country. (Paragraph 96)
14.A key part of the support which the UK can offer Nigeria in tackling corruption is to ensure that its criminals do not find refuge in the UK. Strong and concerted measures must be taken against them in the UK justice system, including the recovery of assets. DFID has given a commitment in its new White Paper to triple the funding for tackling corruption in developing countries. Nigeria's endemic corruption is an obvious target for additional effort and resources, both in-country and in the UK. We recommend that DFID provide us with details of the specific action the Government, the Serious Fraud Office and other UK agencies intend to take to assist Nigeria to reduce corruption, under the White Paper proposals. (Paragraph 99)
15.Civil society is an essential pillar in the transparency and accountability structure of any country. Given Nigeria's challenges of endemic corruption and huge inequality in access to basic services, the role of the country's non-governmental sector in voicing demand for services, securing a fair share of resources and ensuring public money is not stolen or wasted, are central to the country's development. We believe that DFID is right to provide strong support to Nigerian civil society. In such a large and diverse country, it is however important to ensure that this support is not just provided to the high profile, educated and largely middle-class organisations in the cities. Under-represented sections of society, in rural and remote areas, are most likely to be the poor and marginalised people who have the greatest need for services and the least access to ways of voicing this need. We request that DFID, in response to this Report, provides us with more details on the ways in which it aims to support civil society, and in particular organisations which represent the interests of people living in more remote areas, who do not have access to the internet and other information networks. (Paragraph 104)
Oil wealth and the Niger Delta
16.The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has brought a very welcome increase in transparency and accountability to the country's oil sector. We commend DFID for taking such a strong lead in supporting the initiative. However, as its Chairman made clear to us, NEITI is an important, but at the moment isolated, element in what needs to be a much broader, integrated and government-led programme to reform both the oil industry and its relationship with the country's economic and political structures. While oil and politics remain inextricably linked, corruption and mismanagement will prevail. We recommend that DFID take every opportunity to apply pressure to the Nigerian Government to prioritise oil industry reform measures, including publication of data on the contribution which oil revenues make to the public finances and on the programmes which oil revenues fund, and the separation of oil wealth from politics. These measures should also include provision of adequate resources to NEITI to maintain and build upon its excellent work to date and full co-operation with NEITI in the provision of data to ensure that publication of the audits for 2006-08 can be expedited. (Paragraph 112)
17.Violence and instability in the Niger Delta are having a serious impact on Nigeria's oil industry and therefore on its economic situation. The people of the region suffer poverty and live in fear, despite the wealth being generated in the region. The causes are complex and reflect the interaction between oil, politics, crime and corruption in Nigeria which have to be tackled in a co-ordinated and integrated approach. We believe DFID must do more to support the Nigerian authorities to meet their responsibility to provide this response. This should include the adoption where necessary of stronger legislation to compel oil companies to honour the rights of local people and to conduct their business in a way which enables Nigeria's oil wealth to be shared by its people, with robust mechanisms in place to guarantee transparency and accountability in the flows of money and oil. (Paragraph 123)
DFID's future engagement
18.DFID's programme in Nigeria is its fourth largest in Africa and its allocation for 2009-10 is £120 million. This is a significant amount of money and we would find it difficult to support this level of funding were it not for the high level of poverty, and the country's size and strategic importance. These factors have persuaded us that, despite the challenges and the inevitably slow progress, DFID should maintain its commitment to Nigeria. The numbers of poor people and the appalling lack of progress on the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those on maternal and child mortality and on gender equality, mean that global development targets will only be met if there is significant progress in Africa's most populous country. A healthy realism about what is achievable should be combined with a continued emphasis in DFID's programme on building the capacity of the Nigerian authorities to deliver the services they are responsible for out of their own resources. The Federal and State Governments should be encouraged to learn from successful projects, to replicate them and to disseminate good practice as widely as possible (Paragraph 130)
19.  The scale of the UK's contribution and the weaknesses in Nigeria's systems demand that DFID take the greatest care to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from its funding in terms of improving the lives of Nigerian people. It should have robust mechanisms in place which enable it clearly to demonstrate, to the Nigerian people, to UK taxpayers and to Parliament, that funding is not misused, diverted or wasted as a result of deficiencies in Nigeria's own structures. DFID should also continue to work with its donor partners to apply sustained pressure on the Federal and State Governments to address these deficiencies and to focus their efforts on effective delivery of services and a fair, transparent and accountable use of oil wealth. (Paragraph 131)

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