The Federal Government said it would set aside another N500 billion in the 2017 Appropriation Bill for ‘social intervention programmes.’
The amount, when added to the N500 billon earlier approved for the same programme in 2016 would bring the total budgetary allocation for ‘social intervention programmes’ to N1 trillion in two years.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed revealed this at a media briefing in Abuja on the maiden National Nutrition Week to be launched today.
The Federal Government will launch the revised National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN), aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition by 50 per cent by 2025.
The main objective of the week is to intensify awareness on the importance of food and nutrition on child survival and its impact on human development, productivity and economic development.
She lamented that despite the commitment of the Federal Government to nutrition, malnutrition is still a challenge to national development.
She added that while it would be difficult for the government alone to address the issue owing to funding constraints, it would use the instrumentality of the budget in channeling funds for social intervention programs.
Ahmed said the policy would target the vulnerable groups as primary actors in creating and implementing malnutrition solutions.
She said the policy would help to increase exclusive breastfeeding rate from 17 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent by 2025.
“It will increase the percentage of children aged six months and above who receive appropriate complementary feeding from 10 per cent
in 2013 to 40 per cent by 2025.
“It will reduce stunting rate among under-five feeding children from 37 per cent in 2013 by 2025; reduce childhood wasting, including Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) from 18 to 10 per cent.
“It will also achieve and sustain universal household access to iodized salt, increase coverage of zinc supplementation in diarrhoea management from seven to 50 per cent of all children needing treatment,’’ she said.
According to her, the policy will help to reduce anaemia among pregnant women from 67 per cent in 2003 to 33 per cent in 2025.
Ahmed said that the policy would help to reduce prevalence of diet-related non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent.
“The policy will increase coverage of Vitamin A supplementation from 41 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent by 2025.
“ It will increase by 50 per cent households with relevant nutrition knowledge that will improve their nutritional status and boost access to potable water from 49 per cent to 85 per cent.
“`It will increase the number of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at all levels with functional nutritional unit by 75 per cent in 2017,’’ she said.
In addition, she said the policy would help government to mainstream nutrition objectives into social protection and safety net programmes of all MDAs linked to nutrition by 2020.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Fatima Mede, said that the nutrition week was initiated in line with global best practices.
Mede said it was initiated, among others, to intensify awareness generation on the importance of food and nutrition on child’s survival and its impact on development, economic growth and national development.
“To commemorate this maiden event, series of activities have been lined up and these include the launching of the policy by the Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari,’’ she said.
The NPFN is a 10-year blueprint for eradicating malnutrition for sustainable economic growth and development in the country.