Public Policy Implementation in Nigeria and Economic Development


The main aim of this chapter literature review, therefore is to critically examine public policy implementation in Nigeria. Its relevance hinges on the fact that public policy affects all and sundry, including academics, analysts, population census, governments and the public in general. In this paper therefore, we argue that public policy implementation is a paradox in Nigeria considering the fact that despite the lofly public policies formation and implemented over the years in the country much is yet to be achieved. In order to do justices to this, the chapter is going to look into the following sub-heading:

  • Discussed the definition of policy and public policy.
  • Examines different aspects of policy.
  • Assesses the national policy on population for sustainable development
  • Contemporarily theorem involved in the formulation of public policy.



In order to determine the scope, dimension, and ramification of issues to be examined herein, it is pertinent to restate here the basic thrust of this thesis.

This study seeks to evaluate the factors which undermined effective implementation of the national policy on population with particular emphasis on year 2006 National Housing and population census. Accordingly, the review of related literature is organized as follows. Subheading 2.1 discussed the definition of policy and public policy. Subheading 2.2 examine different aspects of policy. Subheading 2.4 assesses the national policy on population policy for sustainable development. Subheading 2.5 contemporary theories involved in the formation of public policy.



The Longman dictionary of contemporary English defined policy as a plan or course of action in directing affairs as chosen by a political party, government, and business company (proctor 1978). In another perspective (Paul Protoor 1978). Defined policy as a written statement of the details of an agreement with an insurance company. The Webster near Collegiate Dictionary offers one of the most precise definitions of policy in these words a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in lights of given conditions to guide and determine present and  future decisions. Onyema Ocheocha (1998) on his part defined policy as a decision making at the highest level, and from another view point, it may be perceived as a general rule or principle with and organization, which is meant to guide future decisions plans or actions.

Given the above definitions, it is also appropriate to the behaviour of any individual, group or society. Since this study is concerned with national/public policy, we shall now define what is meant by public policy.

Public or national policy may be conceptualized as a policy made at governmental level and therefore affects the general public within the area of jurisdiction of the government or public institution formulating abound the policy (Ocheoha 1998). In this connection, a number of government policy abound in Nigeria, some of these policies include energy policy, health policy, economic policy national policy for sustainable development, aviation policy and amongst others. For the purposes of these study, we shall adopt Ocheoha’s definition of public/national policy. At this juncture a pertinent question to as is what aspect of policy abound in the literature.



The literature indicates the following aspects policy, public and private policies (Dimock 1974). Dimock stated that public is made of governmental level and therefore affects the general public within the area of jurisdiction of the government or public institution formulating the policy. Private policy on the other hand belongs to the private sector and is formulated by a private company or group for itself and for guidance of its members, management and staff (Dimock 1974).

Viewed from the perspective of its level of formulation, policy can be categorized into macro- policies and micro policies stated Ocheoha (1998). He affirmed that macro policies are made at the apex level for societal or group guidance, while micro- policies are those made at the level of the component units and often in furtherance of the macro- policy an/or for erase of implementation (Ocheoha 1998).

With respect to its scope or covarage policy can be concerned as mega policy at the using top Rchelon which is then subdivided into district policies at the intermediate level and sub- policies at the lower level. The term “mega policy” was popularized by Yehegbel Dror (1971). But Harry Green (1976) prefers to use the term societal guidance policy, for the same concept.

Mega policy is defined as a master or super-ordinate policy which provides guides for a set of discreet policies. According to Dror, mega policies deal with overall goals, assumption on futures, risk evaluations and degree of innovation. This we can conceptualise the policy system as a hierarchy policy, discreet policies and a complex of sub- policies (Harry Green, 1976). Examples of mega policies are the national development goals as stated in the fourth national development plan of Nigeria, and the fundamental objective, and directive principles of state policy as contained at chapter II of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Other aspects of policy include domestic and foreign, policies. Domestic policies are those which have local, national and domestic application and which effect the lives of people within the confines of given state or counting (Olisaemeka, 1989).

Olisaemeka averred that such policies can be made and changed easily at the federal state and local government levels by Acts of the legislature, rules and regulations by government departments and bye laws by local government councils. Foreign policy, on the other hand, is made in course of the relationship between independent countries within the international community (Olisaemeka 1989).

Ocheoha (1998) corroborate Olisaemeka’s definition of foreign policy added that foreign policies take more time to formulate than domestic policies, and are not easily changed at will because other sovereign states are involved. Besides they have wider applications and coverage, locally and internationally and once made, are not easily changed because the cooperation of other countries are involved, such as the signing of treaties.

Other classification of domestic policies include, distribution, regulatory and redistribute policies (Ocheoha 1998).

Having examined the typologies of policy, we shall now turn our attention towards the examination of the national policy on population for sustainable development.



The national policy on population for sustainable development launched by president Olusegun Obasanjo on the 28th January 2004. Before this data however, the federal government land earlier on, on February 4, 1988 launched the national policy on population for development, unity progress and self reliance.

Fifteen years after, the enunciation of the 1988 policy, the exigencies of emerging new activities and issues (the 1991 national population census, 1994 international conference on population and development, the 1999 HIV/AIDS submit in Abuja, poverty and food security and the population environment development nexus issues) make a revision of the national population policy necessary. This reviewed policy is designed to improve the standard of living and quality of life of the people, promote material child and reproductive health, services as a lower population growth rate through the reduction of birth rates by voluntary fertility regulation methods compatible with the national policy to achieve even distribution of population between urban and rural area, prevent the census and spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic, and address the problems of internal migration and spatial distribution of population as implied in the Daker/Ngor declaration (1992), the United Nations conference on environment and development (1992) and international conference on population and development programmes of action (ICPDPA, 1994).

The document was managed into six chapters. Chapter one focused on the population profile part A of chapter one discussed issues such as population size, population growth rate, age structure, fertility, sources of population data and amongst others. Part “B” of chapter one focused on consequences and implications of the population situations. The following topical issue were described” population momentum, population pressure of Family and Household levels, population and National Development. Part “C” of chapter one reviewed the following issues: HIV/AIDS Reproductive Rights, women status and Empowerment, Role of men socio-cultural issues and amongst others.

Chapter two dwelt of principles, Nine Principles were annunciated. Amongst these nine principles, principles one stated interalia that the people of Nigeria are the most important and valuable resources of the nation. They are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. All Nigerians are entitled to a healthy and productive life the government of Nigeria shall ensure that all individual are given the opportunity to make the most of their potentials. They have the right to an adequate standard of living and improved quality of life. For themselves and their families, in the areas of health, education, food, clothing, housing, water, environment protection, security of live and properly and other basic needs”.

Chapter three discussed the goals, objective and targets of the policy, with respect to the goals, the overall goal of the National Policy on population for sustainable development is improvement of the quality of life and the standards of living of the people of Nigeria.

The specific goals are the following: –

  1. Achievement of sustained economic growth eradication protection and preservation of the social services.
  2. Achievement of a balance between the rate of population growth, available resources and the social and economic development of the country.
  3. Progress towards a complete demographic in-birth rates and low death rates.
  4. Progress in achieving balanced and integrated urban and rural development (National Policy on Population for sustainable development, 2004).

With regard to the objective of the policy, Nineteen objectives were articulated. Some of the objectives include;

  1. Increase understanding and awareness of the inter-relationships between population factors, social and economic development, and the environment and their mutual importance to the long-term sustainable development of Nigeria.
  2. Expand access and coverage and improve quality of reproductive and sexual health care services.
  • Accelerate the integration of population factors into development planning at national, state and local levels.
  1. Improve the population, social and economic data base, promote and support population and development research and help leadership groups recognize the important contribution that planning and data utilization make to the good governance of Nigeria.
  2. Improve system for monitoring and evaluating the implementation the population policy and for reviewing the policy at periodic intervals and amongst others.

With respect to target, the population policy enunciated that target are useful tools to monitor and evaluate implementation of the Nation Policy on population for sustainable development over time. As it was the government of Nigeria has set a goal of a 2 percent population growth rate by 2015 or beyond if its National Economic Policy. The targets for reduction in the total fertility rate and increases in modern contraceptive prevalence indicated below are consistent with goals. The following key targets have been set to guide policy, programme planning and implementation.

  1. Achieve a reduction of the national population growth rate to two (2) percent or lower by the year 2015.
  2. Achieve a reduction in the total fertility rate of at least 0.6% children every five years.
  3. Increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate by at least 2 percent point per year.
  4. Reduce the infant mortality rate to 35 per 1,000 live births by 2015.
  5. Reduce the child mortality rate 45 per 1,000 live births by 2015.
  6. Reduce material mortality ratio to 125 per 100,000 live births by 2010 and to 75 by 2015.
  7. Achieve sustainable universal basic education as soon as possible prior to the year 2015.
  8. Eliminate the gap between men and women in enrolment in secondary, tertiary, vocational and technical education and training by 2015.
  9. Eliminate illiteracy by 2020.
  10. Achieve a 25 percent reduction in HIV adult prevalence (National Policy on population for sustainable development, 2004).

In chapter four the National Policy on population for sustainable development discussed the implementation strategies. The document averred that the population policy is ultimately about improving quality of life and achieving sustainable development in Nigeria. This means that the complex inter-relationships between population, recourses, the environment, social and economic development, need to be recognized and taken into account in our national vision. The implementation strategies for the population policy necessary focus on population related issue, while recognizing that the country has to address many other concerns to achieve sustainable development. According to chapter 4, section 4.1 focused on health concerns. The following subsection were examined, reproductive and sexual health, family planning and fertility management women’s health and safe motherhood, child health and survival and HIV/AIDS, make reproductive health.

Section 4.2 made provisions for gender concerns, with particular emphasis on gender equity, equality and women empowerment.

Section 4.3 made provisions on environment, with emphasis on population, development, and environment inter-relationships. Section 4.4 dealt on education. Policy guidelines for implementing education in Nigeria focused on population and family life education, basic education and literacy.

To implement the National Policy on population for sustainable development, section 4.5 dwelt on communication. The policy recommended the following strategies, behavioural change communication (BCC). advocacy and leadership commitment. The policy affirmed that political will modes commitment are critical strategies were recommended.

  1. Appropriate legislation shall be enacted and enforced to eliminate all harmful practices, include early marriages, female genital cutting and violence against women.
  2. Legislation that protects the family and the institution of marriage shall be promoted and enforced.

And (9) advocacy efforts targeted at leaders at all levels to facilitate the elimination of harmful practices and the removal of socio-cultural barriers to good reproductive health, shall be strengthened. Section 4.9 highlighted population and development planning. The population policy outlined strategies to address the following key issues; integration of population variables into development planning and integrated of reproductive health concerns into sectoral programmes and activities.

Section 4.10 presented population statistics. It discussed the following issues data collection and analysis, and monitoring, evaluation and research. The former i.e. data collection and analysis is the major concern of this study.

The document outlined eleven (11) strategies which shall be adopted by the federal government to collect and analyse data, thus implementing the population policy. Subsection A (i) stipulated that: National Censuses population and health surveys shall be undertaken at regular intervals and on a timely basis subsection A (ii) provided that priority attention shall be accorded preparatory activities prior to censuses and population surveys to help ensure quality results, and amongst other.

Commenting on the invaluable source of population data, the document affirmed that “demographic and health data are essential to national planning programme and management of the population. Efforts shall be intensified to generate reliable and timely population and health data for socio economic development plan with the conclusion of year 2006 National Population and Housing Census, it is appropriate to evaluate the extent in which the implementation of the census has fulfilled the 19th objective of the National Policy on population for sustainable development, which is “to improve data base, promote” and support population and development research, and help leadership groups recognize the important contribution that planning and data utilization make to good governance of Nigeria. (National Policy on population for sustainable development 2004: p22)

Chapter five of the population policy focused on resource mobilization. In its preamble it was stated that government and civil society will need to mobilize sufficient resources form internal and external sources for implementation of population policy. For adequate support and successful management of population programmes critical resource requirement will include human, material, technical and financial resources at federal, state and LGA level. Subsection 5.1 discussed Human resources requirement. Subsection 5.1 (1) provides that to improve the human resources base for population policy implementation comprehensive manpower policy for population programmes should be formulated and implemented (2) Nigeria universities and other appropriate tertiary institutions shall promote, institutionalization of training of population health manpower, and amongst others. Section 5.2 Examined Financial Resources. The policy provided that the sources of funding shall be both internal and external. The policy outlined eight sources of funding which included that federal, state and local government shall provide annual budgeting allocations and release for implementation of the population policy and programmes, and amongst others. Section 5.3 Presents Technical Resources. The policy made provision for four major guidelines that will aid government to procure material and technical resources in the process of the implementation of the population policy. Subsection 5.3 Stipulated that government shall procure and provide technical equipment for the provision of quality reproductive health services, the conduct of population census and surveys, development of data banks and other relevant population related activities, and amongst others. Section 5.4 made provisions for inter-agency coordination. The policy stressed that many partner, including external donors, shall be involved in the implementation of the population policy.

Coordination is required to ensure the most efficient use of available resources. Two major guidelines were outlined to enable inter-agency coordinated for an affective implementation of the policy. Section 5.4 (1) Stipulated that periodic assessment be carried out by governs to identify resources needs in the population sector and shall be reviewed by implementing partners 5.4 (2) provided that government, donor agencies, civil society organization as and organized private sector shall work together to ensure that the counting derives maximum benefit from internal and external resources in the implementation of the population policy.

Institutional frame work is presented in chapter six of the population policy. The document recognized that the implementation of the National population policy is a complex, multisectoral activity. All tiers and relevant agencies of government, the private section non-governmental organizations, and communities should be actively involved in its implementation. To achieved the objective of the policy, there should be a distinct institutional management for co-ordination, on one hand and implementation on the other. Accordingly the population policy made provisions for the National Council on and population coordination management (NCPM) and population coordination.

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