challenges of policy implementation in nigeria



1.1   Background of the Study

In every society, there must exist some problems. These problems could be in the areas of politics, commerce, education, agriculture, communication, housing, transportation, health etc. In order to solve these problems as they might exist at given points in time, government is always seen formulating policies in response to them and in relation to the objectives of growth, national development and well being of the citizens. This is necessary because if attempts are not made to address these problems as they arise, they may degenerate into uncontrollable stages with the society’s social-economic growth and development endangered.(Okoli and Onah, 2002). For this, the scope and effects of public policy is usually very pervasive and dominant particularly in developing nations like Nigeria with a very weak private sector (Ikelegbe 2006, Abah, 2010). For instance, it is the making and implementation of public policies that determine, for instance, the level of provision of social services, the availability of financial services for economic activities, the level of industrialization, the level of employment opportunities, the level of social or economic inequality, the availability of health facilities, the level of social security, the pace of educational development etc. Fundamentally, a public policy is a government action or proposed action directed at achieving certain desired goals or objectives (Ikelegbe, 2006). In the light of a given societal problem, public policy guides and determines present and future public decisions as well as private individual or private business institutional actions, decisions or behavior. In essence, a public policy determines the activities of government and given private institutions in relation to providing services designed to solve a given problem. Usually, policies are made or formulated by the legislative arm of the government in both the federal, state or local government tiers and implemented by the public bureaucracy or designated private institutions. In most cases, however, it is the public bureaucracy that is saddled with the responsibility of policy implementation. Indeed, in virtually every country of the world, public polices are implemented primarily by the public bureaucracy and specifically by the bureaucrats or career civil servants that work in them (Ezeani, 2006). To this extent, therefore, the role of government in development is, to a very large extent, the role of the public bureaucracy (Abah, 2010). This role the public bureaucracy, plays through the effective implementation of government policies, projects and programmes aimed at achieving development goals and objectives. Most often in Nigeria, however, policies are well and brilliantly formulated but ineffectively implemented by the bureaucracy (Obodoechi, 2009; Ikelegbe, 2006). This leads to the failure of public policies to achieve their target goals and objectives and to ultimately alleviate the problems for which they were designed. Indeed, there is usually wide gaps between formulated policy goals and the achievement of those goals as a result of ineffective implementation in almost all facets of public administration in Nigeria (Ozor, 2004; Mankinde, 2005). Initially, the emphasis in the literature of policy studies was more on the policy formulation stage. In contemporary times, however, emphasis has shifted to policy implementation following the realization that effective implementation of policies is not an automatic affair (Egonmwan, 1984; Ikelegbe, 2006; Nweke, 2006). Again policy implementation has become of greater concern to its formulation particularly in developing nations like Nigeria where the government is increasingly looked upon by the citizens to effectively implement development projects and programmes and where, contrarily, ineffective implementation of policies has become very critical and worrisome. Against this back ground, and in line with the argument of Ugo and Ukpere (2011) that an adequate solution to the problem of effective policy implementation failures in Nigeria must stem logically from a rigorous examination and analysis of its causes, the study is set to look at policy implementation as a major stage in the policy process, to highlight the need and the role of public bureaucracy in effective implementation of polices, examine obstacles that constrain the effective implementation of policies by the public bureaucracy in Nigeria and to make recommendations on how to address the challenges and strengthen the capability of the Nigerian public bureaucracy towards effective implementation of formulated policies.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Most government policies/reforms in Nigeria have failed to achieve the desired objectives because of either lopsided implementation or total failure to give effect to the motive of the policy or reform. The Nigerian Public servants have expressed doubt as to the government’s sincerity in carrying out the implementation of the monetization policy to a logical conclusion. It is expected that the reform program will minimize the massive waste, misuse, abuse and fraud that characterized the provision of fringe benefits to the public servants. The reform will encourage public servants to own personal houses; enable public servants to plan for more comfortable service life; reduce capital cost and reduce expenditure on rent as public servants who constitute majority of tenants in the urban centers would have developed their personal houses. The realization of these benefits would depend on the effectiveness of the implementation of the reform. The reform process places special strains on the civil service, which must undergo major adjustment that may increase uncertainty and lower moral in the transition period. The government has planned to down-size its workforce by 30,056 (The Guardian Sunday September 4, 2005 p.1), about 90 per cent will be the lower cadre of civil servants within the poverty bracket, especially those without basic entry qualifications for the positions they occupy. This will have adverse effect on those to be affected and will worsen the unemployment situation in the country. Thus, the exercise is elitist, both in conception and implementation. Those in the echelon of administration will enjoy higher percentage of monetized allowances. There is a very low prospect for junior workers to buy their quarters through the bidding process. Therefore, the intention of providing houses and reducing poverty of public servants will not be achieved, especially, when the junior workers constitute more than half of government workforce.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of the Study is to find out the challenges of implementing government policy in Nigeria, specifically the study intends to:

1.     Find out the challenges of policy implementation in Nigeria

2.     Analyze the effect of  those challenges on Nigeria economy

3.     Investigate the factors influencing those challenges

4.     Proffer solutions to the challenges

1.4     Reseach Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide this study

1.     What are the challenges of policy implementation in Nigeria

2.     Is there any significant effect of  those challenges on Nigeria economy

3.     What are the  factors influencing those challenges

4.     What solution can be proffered to the challenges

1.5     Research Hypothesis

Ho: there is no significant effect of those challenges on Nigeria economy

Hi: there is significant effect of those challenges on Nigeria economy

1.6     Significance of the study

The central focus of these notions of public policy is that it is a course of action arising from environmental challenges or stimuli. Monetization policy is therefore a course of action; a plan aimed at revamping the ailing economy of the country through the application of money spent on provision of incentives to public servants to the funding of social projects.

This study will also serve as an open eye to the whole economy and finally the study will serve as a reference point for other researchers who will embark on the same research topic.

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