The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are setoff internationally defined targets for development, formulated by the United Nations organization at the Millennium Summit in 2000. It has been ratified by member countries of the United Nations as representing their commitment to improving the lives of people globally.

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And as a valuable instrument and yardstick for measuring progress of different nations in improving the lives of their people.

The first goal calls for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Specifically it calls for the reduction of the proportion of people living on less than $ 1 a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger to half the 1990 level by 2015. Other goals relate to achieving  Universal Primary Education; promoting gender equality and empowerment; reduction in child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability and developing global partnership for development. In effect, the MDGs articulated in a single agenda issues that define development and development status of a state.

To facilitate this transformation, member countries of the United Nations Organizations are encouraged to develop credible programmes of action that will ensure the urgent realization of these goals. With respect to Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria subscribed to the letter and spirit of the Millennium Development Goals

The Environment of Nigeria and the MDGs

Nigeria is a country of startling paradox. On the one hand Nigeria has all it takes both in human and material resources to become a great country of unimaginable prosperity. Nigeria has a population of 125 million, and a land mass of 924, 000 sq km with about 75 percent of the land arable and harvesting cocoa, rubber, groundnut, rice, maize, sorghum, millet, cassava, yam in abundance. Rivers and rain water are in adequate supply. There is an estimated proven national gas reserves are estimated at 174 trillion cubit feet Nigeria’s rivers also constitute a substantial energy resources. The country is blessed with abundant solid mineral deposit including coal, in ore, kaolin, gypsum, columbit,  gold, gemstones, barites graphite marble, tantalite, uranium, salf, soda and sulphur. (Federal Officer of Statistics: 2004)

On the other hand Nigeria is unfortunately wallowing in misery. 7 of every 10 Nigerians live on less than $ 1 a day and the picture is getting bad by the day. In 1980 an estimated 27 percent of Nigerian lived in poverty. By 1996 it rose to 66 percent and 70 percent in 1999. The figure is steadily on the increase. On account of this poverty, poor parents begat poor children, thereby creating a kind of dynasty of the poor.(Federal Office of Statistics: 2004)

Life expectancy is a mere 54 years. Infant mortality is 77 per 1, 000 and maternal mortality stands at 704 per 100.000 live births, which is about  the highest in the world. Only about half the population had access safe  drinking water (40 percent in rural areas, 60 percent in urban areas). Unemployment and underemployment rate is put at 15 percent of the labour force (National Planning Commission: 2004)

A country with such a dismal outlook no doubt qualified immensely to embrace the imperatives of the Millennium Development Goals which emphasis poverty eradication, access to universal basic education, gender equality, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health combating of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and global partnership.

Nigeria’s Strategic Initiatives Towards Resolving MDGs

A central attack by the Federal Government of Nigeria towards addressing the MDGs is anchored on the National Economic Empowerment

And Development Strategy (NEEDS). The goal of NEEDS is to mobilize the resources of Nigeria to make a fundamental break with the failures of the past and bequeath a united and prosperous nation to generation to come.

The institutional framework for implementing NEEDS recognizes the importance of co-ordination among the federal government (NEEDS), the states (SEEDS), and the local government levels for achieving the national development goals. In this regards, state governments through the National Economic Council and the National Council on Development Planning, constitute an integral part of implementation, monitoring, and evaluation framework.

At the apex are the President and the National Assembly. The federal executive council and national Economic Council consider all matter pertaining to implementing NEEDS and SEEDS – presenting periodic reports to the President and National Assemble. The Secretariat of NEEDS is located at the National Planning Commission which coordinates the implementation framework. Other supporting agencies include the joint Planning Board, the Nation Council on Development Planning and the National Economic Council.

The Macro- economic framework of NEEDS include:

1. Empowering the people. Here issues relating to health, education, environment, integrated rural development, housing development, employment and youth development, safety nets, gender and geopolitical balance as well as pension reforms will be addressed.

2. Promoting private enterprise. Issues relating to security, rule of law, infrastructure, finance, sectoral strategies privatization and trade  liberalization regional integration, and global remain pivotal

3. Changing the way the government does its work. Here attention is paid to public sector reforms privatization and liberalization, governance transparency and anti-corruption, service delivery, budget and expenditure  reforms.

NEEDS therefore is Nigeria’s Integrated Development plan inspired by current challenges for change and vigorous growth. It identifies the major problems we face today and suggests how we can begin to solve them NEEDS integrates economic development efforts at the federal, state and local government levels it does not confine to specific sectors or limit itself to addressing only the major challenges identified instead, it looks at the big picture, examining how challenges identified in each sector affect one another.

What emerges from the above discussion is a clear pointer to the very instructive role of human capital in national development. The processes of defining the problems and identifying, pursuing and attaining results which satisfies the expected goals are through meaningful human initiative and contributions. In effect, the conceptualization and realization of the NEEDS agenda and in this case, the MDGs is instrumentally tied to the effectiveness and efficiency of the human resource system. Human beings drawn up policies and they are also the implementers of the policies. The adequacy of the human capital in no small measure promotes qualitative developmental outcomes. In the opinion of Ndiomu (1992), the indices for measuring national growth and development hinge on the conditions of the human resources which a nation possesses.

Prior to the articulation of the NEEDS, the Federal Government took bold steps towards ensuring stability of the polity through consolidating the democratic governance structure. The ideal was to minimize if not entirely eliminate the problems of political instability and ensure a flame that is capable of providing for an sustaining developmental initiative and programmes in the countries. With democratic structures in place the federal Government on account improvement in the countries revenue profile began to make quantitative improvement in the sectoral budgetary allocation and as well embarked on measures to reduce waste in public spending. Examples of such measure include massive anticorruption campaign through institution bodies like the independent Corrupt Practices Commission, National Orientation Agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Establishment of a due process mechanism to vet and eliminate fat from government contracts. Other programmes of the government include – Right sizing of the labour force in public service, restoration of professionalism of the civil service, Privatization of government parastals and liberalization of the economy

Human Capital Management and MDGS

Human capital management is concerned with obtaining the best possible staff for an organization and having them looking after them so that they will want to stay  and give of the best of their jobs (Cumming 1968:21) according Frank (1974). Human resources management is a series of activities in which the job, the individual and the organization all interact as each develops and changes. From the foregoing, human capital management can be viewed as encompassing all the activities that are performed from identification of human resource for employment to the full utilization of people and planning for their retirement.

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