Development Cooperation Effectiveness, Transparency And Accountability; The Nigerian Reality, By Okeke Celestine
Development cooperation is as old as history itself and as old as it is also is the debate on the effectiveness of development cooperation between the “rich” north and “poor” south, also interesting in recent past is the debate on how transparent and accountable are donor funded projects in Nigeria .
Nigeria has continued to enjoy a high inflow of development aid into it, development aid across various sectors of its socioeconomic and political spheres but one thing has stood out in them all; the debate on the effectiveness of several projects advanced as development cooperation initiatives in Nigeria.
We have had and continue to have instances where same donor agency fund parallel programmes across different agencies in one ministry and not bothering to conduct a needs assessment to help determine what is needed most as against what is considered convenient. I will explain the position above with what is presently happening across various programmes on-going in Nigeria in guise of supporting the buy Made-in-Nigeria campaign in the next few paragraphs.
Nigeria’s ranking in the global ease of doing business index report is an open source information and as at today, we are ranked 169th across the globe and of importance is that the factors that combine to rank us this poor are the very same factors responsible for low economic activities in the key areas of production for consumption and export in the agriculture, extractive, technological advancement and innovation and small scale industrialists sectors and sane minds would have expected any support from donor agencies to be channelled to helping us move up the global ease of doing business ranking.
The campaigns presently being funded by an array of donor agencies are largely seeking to promote “finished” products in Nigeria when whereas, over 60% of products so labelled “Made in Nigeria” are largely assembled in Nigeria as virtually all the components used in their production still remain imported into the country.
It is also worthy to note that recent data from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria clearly indicates that an average of one industrial concern closes shop or reduces production activity/ retrenches staffs on a weekly basis in Nigeria in the last one year, such that all efforts geared at promoting so called Made-in-Nigeria goods seems to be clearly out of context with the present realities of what is produced and what is assembled in Nigeria.
It is also on record that the Nigerian government has not done a review of past economic growth and development programmes/ initiatives with a view to understanding the shortfalls of the past initiatives and avoiding same in the one’s being planned and that most of these initiatives received donor funding and support and despite this obvious misnomer of not reviewing and evaluating past projects before launching new ones, donor agencies still keep supporting and funding new initiatives that often make very little or no impact as they are designed with the same conditionality’s that combined to frustrate the past initiatives.
When the Nigerian government with support of some donor agencies in February 2014 launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) with a major component being the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) that had the One Local Government One Product (OLOP) approach to accelerating economic development and growth in Nigeria, there was indeed wide applause on the vision and thinking behind the initiative but as always, we asked Nigerians to thread with caution as we already had a history of launching such initiatives in vacuums.
NEDEP as at today has made little or no impact in driving economic development/ growth in Nigeria as clearly indicated in the report released by the desk officers of the programme when we wrote asking for the progress report of the programme and one would have expected the donor agencies that funded it to demand for an audit of the programme but no, they rather went ahead to support same Ministry (Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment) to launch a new initiative called GEM (Growth and Employment Project) in February 2016, exactly two years after, we at MSME-ASI have looked and searched for possible justification for this and found none and willing to have a conversation with anyone who can justify this brazen acts of using financing and support for MSMEs as conduit pipes to move funds for other purposes.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Advocacy and Support Initiative