ROLES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
(A CASE STUDY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN EBONYI STATE)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This study is a modest attempt at a lucid explication of the role of local government in Nigeria. Nigerian local government system has witnessed tremendous transformation since the introductions of the 1988 Civil Service Reforms and its application at the local government administration one of the changes introduced to strengthen the local government is the direct payment of their statutory allocations which was increased from 10% to 25%. In addition local government auditor was established in each state government to ensure proper utilization of financial resources at the local level to check any misappropriation of public funds. Also all local government now has a common structure which distinguishes them from service department.
Local government at any level has some stand and roles such as the maintenance of law and order, the promotion of economic and social development. They are left with considerable freedom to act as they see fit for the interest of the local community.
From the point of view the government as agents of development are will place to help the rural areas to develop. These can be done by investing in social and economic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, electrification and telecommunication. The other essential duties inherited from the Native Authorities include rural and the urban water supplies markets and libraries. We generally regard the convenience list as including those extra amenities which make for a better life in the community, other than those life in the community, other than those which are concerned with fighting discuss e.g. bus and lorry parks. The regulation of handcarts on the streets, community and recreation centers, parks and open spaces, grazing areas and fuel plantations, the naming of streets and the numbering of buildings. These are recognized as automatically the responsibility of the local government. They also help in the service of park control and supply of water, electricity and gas, the provision of road and water transport, and any other trading undertaking that the state government specifically authorizes.
The local government also take care for a specifically health orientation and supplying of drugs, a midwifery service, to arrange for health visiting and home nursing to provide facilities for vaccination and immunization.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Local government is expected to become more meaningful in facilitating social and economic development at the grassroots level. Central to the achievement of these objectives is the financial viability of this tier of government. This point has been subtly underscored by “Dasuki panel” on local government administration, when it observed inter alia that a good number of local government roles could not be performed at all, due to a variety of reasons principal among which are:
(a) Inadequate financial capacity
(b) Lack of necessary technical manpower, and erosion of functions particularly in the revenue yielding areas by state government – thus reducing the revenue base of the local government.
This demonstrates that success or failure of local government depends among other things, on their revenue base, the fiscal resources available and the way these resources are utilized. However, central to the above is the ability of the local government to generate substantial financial resources which is one of the tripartite goals of every local government in Nigeria more importantly; one is inclined to think that this is the point that can give an impact in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty of Isoko South Local Government. The researcher wants to identify the reasons for the vicarious cycle, and proffer a solution to the above problems.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study seeks to look at the contribution of local government development of rural areas in Nigeria using Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state.
This research also aimed at identifying different factors militating the effectiveness of local government and solutions to those problems identified and it will be offered at the completion of the research work.
Finally, the study makes a modest attempt to fulfill this purpose in the social and economic development of the effective delivery of service to the respective local populations scattered all over the country. It also make a recommendations on making local government an effective third level of government, the development and management of the human resources of local governments and the development of the financial resources of local government. The overall thrust of the recommendation is on how to ensure faithful implementation of local government.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research area and dimension of coverage is based on only the roles of local government administration in economic and social development of rural area in Nigeria and to the staffs, teaches, businessmen, farmers in Isoko South Local Government of Delta state.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions for work will be based on the following:
(i) Does local government have any role to play in the economic development of rural area?
(ii) To what extent has local government administration played its roles in rural area?
(iii) Does low morale among the staffs of local government militates development of rural areas?
(iv) Are there any constraints that militate against the success of development process of local government?
(v) Does weak financial base hinder the goals of meeting up rural development?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The need and importance of the research is obvious. At a time when local government has come to assume an overwhelming influence on the process of political and economic development.
It becomes more relevant to examine much more closely, the characters and dynamics of this three tier of governments and to clarify the major contradictions that have landed to impede its capacity to promote development at local level.
However, a scientific study of this kind becomes necessary especially at this time when the past and present civilian administrations are particularly concern about rural development.
Finally, this study will generally add to the growing numbers of literature on local government affairs, more particularly on the roles of local government administration in economic ad social development of rural area in Nigeria and pragmatic solutions offered towards making them more efficient and responsive to the needs of rural Nigerians, it also to policy makers and researchers alike.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher is also affected by the usual constraints and problems prominent in similar researchers in Nigeria. These constraints were summarized below
(i) Finance: This created a lot of problem to researcher in the cause of carrying out proper investigation of this research, but this was not enough because of other uses in which it is been put to.
(ii) Time Constraints: The time available for the research work was very limited with other assignment and preparation for examination has caused a barrier to the researcher findings.
(iii) Dearth of Statistical Data and Information: As a result of lack of documental data the research work appears to be some how written for easy understanding.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The following terms have been defined for the purpose of this study:
(i) Local government: This is government at a local level exercised through representative councils established by laws toe exercise specific functions with in a defined area.
(ii) Development: Development is a multi – dimensional process involving a re-organizational and reorientation of the entire economic and social system, in addition to improve income and outcome. Its typically involves radical changes in institutional, social as well popular attitude and sometimes even customs and belief.
(iii) Council: This refers to the organ that constitutes representation of people either elected or nominated.
(iv) Social Economic Development: This is a combination of social and economic development. It embraces improvement in not only standard of living and per-capital income, but also high level of employment, reducing inflation, adequate food, high infrastructures, stressing values rather than achievement.
(v) Objectives: These are end results to which an organization or government activity directed objective are hierarchical in nature are determined or formulated by top management of an organization after economic, social and political forces affecting the organization have been apprised.
(vi) Programmes: This consists of essentially integrated series of development projects that spans over a length of time.