The Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) is pleased to announce the publication of the paper entitled "Understanding the Framework for Intergovernmental Interactions in the Implementation of Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda" by Prof. Aderibigbe S. Olomola in the NSSP Working Paper Series (Working Paper No. 27).
Abstract: This study focuses on intergovernmental interactions in Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). ATA may not be able to achieve its desired objectives unless the intergovernmental and inter-agency interactions are well understood, coordinated, and integrated into the design and implementation of the various ATA programs, especially those that are still being developed. Unfortunately, the interactions among the three tiers of government in Nigeria is still not recognized by policy makers as a major issue in refining the design of the transformation process and reinforcing it. No tier of government acting alone in making decisions that affect all three tiers of government can create an environment that will be sufficiently enabling to ensure that farmers and other beneficiaries of ATA initiatives receive the maximum benefits obtainable. If the buy-in of a particular level of government is not properly and meaningfully secured, implementation of programs can be fraught with delays and avoidable costs. These may jeopardize the sustainability of ATA. This study seeks to:
1. Examine the various institutional reforms and initiatives under ATA,
2. Analyze the intergovernmental relationships in the design and implementation of ATA,
3. Assess ATA implementation performance and challenges at the federal and state levels, and
4. Proffer suggestions for improved intergovernmental collaboration and sustainability of the agricultural transformation agenda in Nigeria.
The study employed secondary data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and four study states, Kebbi, Niger, Ogun, and Ebonyi, and primary data obtained from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with government officials at federal, state and local government levels. Conceptually, this study is guided by the theory of collaborative governance.
The study finds that intergovernmental relationships in the design and implementation of ATA are manifest more in terms of cooperation rather than in terms of collaboration. The level of cooperation depends largely on the extent to which the population in the state depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, the calculation of political benefits of participation, and the fiscal capacity of the states involved. The intensity of intergovernmental interaction varies from one state to another on account of differing levels of understanding of roles in ATA implementation and deep-seated misgivings about the non-collective nature of the decisions leading to the assignment of stakeholders’ roles. Nonetheless, with the extent of cooperation achieved, it has been possible to implement key components of ATA successfully due to a history of cooperation between the federal and state governments, effective leadership and coordination, institutional reforms, and the creditable roles of a technical facilitator and supply chain managers. The level of success achieved notwithstanding, there are a number of challenges to the sustainable implementation of ATA programs, including weak collaborative processes, which often result in delays in service delivery. To remedy the situation, there should be more effective and meaningful use of existing institutional arrangements for collective decision making where cross-tier partnerships are required. There is need to intensify the regulatory role of government to ensure improved quality of inputs. It is also important to depoliticize and de-bureaucratize the roll-out of ATA programs to avoid delays and to achieve better results.