This study was carried out to examine the role of local government in Economic development with a view to finding out its impact on grassroots/Economic development. The study was conducted in Aba North Local government and its constituent communities. The study has three main objectives which were specifically to; to determine the nature of local government administration, to determine the nature of development in local government administration and to determine the role of local government in economic development. The study was anchored on the “system theory” of David Easton. The theory argues that in every system, which includes political system, there are subsystems making up the entire system. These subsystems are assigned functions and provided with enabling empowerment, including resources, appropriate authority, etc. to enable them discharge their responsibilities optimally. The method adopted in this study is a survey and descriptive analysis, which provided general impressions, summary of observations and findings made from the data collected. The methodology provided tools for the analysis of the role of local government on grassroots economic development with Aba North Local government area as case study, This research work strongly advocates autonomy for local governments in such a way and manner that enhances its performance of constitutional and ancillary roles. Local governments should strive to raise and maintain revenue that would enable her deliver projects and services that guarantee quality living to the grassroots. This has the potency of reducing the incidence of rural-urban drift. As a corollary, local governments should be more people-centred in approach, such that necessary collaboration/partnership with communities in its domain can facilitate the process economic development.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the 1976 Local Government Reforms, explained Local Government as follows: “Local Government is Government at Local level exercised through representative councils established by Law to exercise specific power within defined areas” (Government print: 1976). The United Nations Office for Public Administration explained Local Government as: “A political division of a nation (in a Federal or State system) which is constituted by Law and has substantial control of Local affairs including the power to impose taxes to exact labor for prescribed purposes.
W. A. Robson, in the Encyclopedia of the Social Services, defines Local Government as involving:
“The conception of a territorial, non-sovereign community possessing the legal right and the necessary organ to regulate its own affairs.
This, in turn, presupposes the existence of a Local authority with the power to act independently of external control as well as the participation of the local community in the administration of its affairs”.
The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition (1978), volume 17, defines Local Government as: “a political subdivision of national government or in the case of Federal Systems, a subdivision of regional Government”.
The New Columbia Encyclopedia (4th Ed.), defines it as the: “sub-political administration of the smallest sub-divisions of a country’s territory and population. Ugwu (2002) defines Local Government as “the lowest unit of administration to whose laws and regulations communities who live in a defined geographical area and with common social and political ties are subject. Though these definitions may tend to vary, yet they expose features characteristic of Local Government, among which are that:
i. Local Government is government at the local level;
ii. It has its autonomous existence and endowed with a legal status;
iii. Specific powers are reserved for it;
iv. It can impose taxes and incur expenses;
v. it exists within a defined territory;
vi. It is seen as a distinct tier of Government;
vii. It must provide authority over a given population;
viii. It must provide avenues for the promotion of the welfare of the members of the community;
ix. It comprises elected members, such as chairmen and councilors.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The local government, were created so as to enable the Federal and state government exercise effective control and development of the Economic communities.
Hence, among the effective role of the local government (Anaocha local government) is the provision of two way communication channel between the local communities and the central government through the mobilization of human and material resources at the grass root.
The implication of the above is that the concept of Economic as well as national development depends on the effective local government leaderships and administration for its success (Ngwu 1980) It also, implies that effective local government is required for the planning, preparation and submission of the proposal for funding and initiation of any meaningful development project in Nigeria, this goes a long way to validate the assertion made by Agu (2001) that effective and efficient leadership and administration of the local government is required for the sustenance and utilization of development project in any nation. Hence the studies of Ezike (1998:45) and Hassan (1999:66) revealed that effective implement of development project are contingent on strong leadership of the local government area, particular at the planning stage.
In Economic as well as national development, the understanding of the local power structure is capable of enhancing or impeding the implementation of development project. In addition local government (Anaocha) leadership is always required for the genuine involvement of the people at the grass root in any development project or activities of the government.
However, the local government (Anaocha) had actually in fulfilling their roles due to both financial as well as political problem. According to Williams (1998-50) most local government in Nigeria suffer from inadequate financial resources, this was recently known as zero accusation. Anaocha local government was vastly affected by this zero allocation epidemic and this affected a great number of developmental activities including the payment of its staff. Consequently, the available fund was not appropriately used due to the frustrating effort of the local government authority effort of the local government authority which was as a result of mismanagement. The local government in some cases suffers from over-staffing to the extent that most of its recourses are spent on the payment of staff salaries. The research seek to appraise the role of local government in Economic Development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Local government is the third tier government established to bring the presence of government nearer to the people at the grass root, with the aim of providing some basic functions or needs of life such as, food, shelter, job opportunities primary b health service, primary education, by roads, market and so on. But contrary to expectations, the local governments have noticeable failed in their constitutional responsibilities. They are generally classified as been unproductive (President Oluegun Obasanjo in his address to the nation on the reasons behind the current local government reform: 2003. Stated that this current reform is one of the major reforms previously done on the local government system in Nigeria, with their sole objective of reforming the local government system to be effective and efficient , responsive and objective. The local government is faced with a number of problems.
– The problem of lack of productivity in the local government.
– The problem of unemployment and low incomes for target group.
– Lack of improved qualities in the basic needs of life- food, shelter, job opportunities health service, education etc.
– Inability of the local government council to ensures that the poorer section of the population has some share in the fruits of economic activities. Lack of social services and economic growth. Therefore the problem confronting this research is to investigate the role of local government in economic development.
1.3 OBJECTUVES OF THE STUDY
1 To determine the nature of local government administration
2 To determine the nature of development in local government administration
2 To determine the role of local government in economic development
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1 What is the nature of Local government Administration?
2 What is the nature of Economic development in local government Administration?
3 What is the role of local government in Economic development
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study shall provide a framework of the nature of local government administration and its role in the determination of economic development.
It seek to further draw attention of all stakeholders comprising of the federal government, state government etc to the significance of the local government with a view to Assiting it overcome its numerous challenges towards the attainment of economic development
1.6 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
1 Ho The level of Economic Development is Low
Hi The level of Economic Development is high
2 Ho The problem confronting local government is low
Hi The problem confronting local government is high
3 Ho The role of local government in economic development is not effective
Hi The role of local government in economic development is effective
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study focuses on the appraisal of the role of local government in economic development.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms have been defined for the purpose of this study.
. Local government: This is government at a local level exercised through representative council established by laws toe exercise specific functions with in a defined area
Empowerment is a process by which individuals and groups gain power, access resources and gain control over their own lives. It enables them to gain the ability to achieve their highest personal and collective aspirations and goals. Furthermore, the methodology
- of the study is logical argumentation.
. Development: Development is a multidimensional process involving a re-organizational and re-orientation of the entire economic system in addition to improve income and outcome. Its typically involves radical changes in institution social as well popular attitude and sometimes even customers and belief.
. Council: This refers to the organ the constitute representation of people either elected or nominated
. Economic development: This economic development embraces improvement in standard of living and per capital income but also high level of employment reducing inflation adequate food high infrastructures stressing values rather than achievement.
Objectives: These are end result to which an organization or government activity directed objectives are hierarchical in nature are determined to formulate by top management of an organization after economic social & political force affecting the organization have been apprized.
. Programmes: This consists of essentially integrated series of development projects that spans over a length of time.
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