From Gyang Bere, Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the graduates of the NIPSS Senior Executive Course 42 that his administration will implement the 12-point recommendations on Population Growth and Human Capital Development in Nigeria.
The President, represented by Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, disclosed this during the graduation ceremony of the 77 delegates of the Senior Executive Course 42 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru.
He said that despite the disputations caused to the work of government by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIPSS put in place stringent infection prevention protocols over the last year to ensure that the deep analytical work of the 77 delegates was not adversely affected.
Project Director, Development Research and Project Centre, Dr Stanley Ukpai, in partnership with Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (dRPC-PAS), noted in a statement that the participants have completed investigations into policy interaction and implications of Nigeria’s dynamic population growth for the country’s human capital development.
He said NIPSS was supported by the development Research and Project’s Center (dRPC) to access practitioner’s expertise and cutting-edge experiences from the field through interactions with leaders of civil society advocacy organizations under the [email protected] project.
‘In the Nigerian policy analysis space, NIPSS holds the unique position as the only think tank at national or state levels using broad-based consultative approaches covering all geopolitical zones of the country and multiple stakeholders, including civil society through its long-standing collaboration with the dRPC,’ he said.
The Director-General of the National Institute, Professor Habu Galadima, said that Nigeria is currently in a demographic crisis, characterised by a phenomenally high rate of out of school children, youth bulge in the population pyramid, high dependency ratio as well as high unemployment – all driven by high population growth rates.
‘This demographic crisis is contributing to intensified conflicts over resources, to the nation’s growing insecurity, violence and youth restiveness.
‘Nigeria’s population is growing at 3.2 per cent every year, which translates to an additional 6.7 million persons annually, making it one of the highest in the world. As of 2019, 86.7 per cent of Nigerians depend on others to survive, meaning that only 27.9 million people out of about 210 million are productive,’ he said.
He added that the demographic crisis is further compounded by inadequate attention given to the components of human capital development over the years, which include health and wellbeing, education and skills development as well as the expansion of per capita income and the gross domestic product.
He noted that to address the situation, the SEC 42 asked the President to approve the revised National Population Policy 2019 and ensure effective implementation of the policy.
Some of the other recommendations of the 2020 SEC delegates are: ‘The implementation of a holistic and integrated approach to population growth and human capital development in Nigeria.
‘Reporting out in the context of Covid-19 delegates accorded particular attention to the health sector. Delegates noted that access to basic health care in the country still remains a challenge with about 74 per cent out of pocket expenditure.
‘They also noted 132 out of every 1,000 children born in Nigeria are not likely to live up to five years and that Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world.
‘Family Planning is important for the management of Nigeria’s population and it also plays a vital role in the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity.
‘It remains one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent maternal, infant, and child mortality. It can reduce maternal mortality by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, the number of abortions, and the proportion of births at high risk.
‘Family Planning offers a host of additional health, social, and economic benefits; it can help promote gender equality, reduce poverty, accelerate socioeconomic development, and protect the environment.’
He noted that ‘the recently launched Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint 2020-24 presents a strategic opportunity with a broad well-articulated strategy that holistically addresses gaps in the provision of high-quality FP services.
‘The new FP Blueprint represents the determination of the government of Nigeria and also an opportunity to move from demographic crisis to demographic dividends if implemented at national and subnational levels.’
Following an exhaustive study on the theme from the senior executive course period, the participants recommended that various options as necessary if the nation is to improve its population growth through family planning.
The Director-General of NIPSS who summed up the recommendation of SEC 42 said: We urge the NPC to engage Governors forum on effective implementation of the National Population Policy 2019 not later than third quarter 2021.
‘They, along with the Federal Ministry of Health, should collaborate with the NOA to create awareness and targeted advocacy for the social and behavioural change on population issues continuously from the 2021 to 2024.’
He also asked all states and local governments in Nigeria to ensure effective implementation of the NPP 2019 beginning from the second quarter 2021, while calling on government at all levels to ensure effective implementation of the Family Planning Blueprint 2020-24.
Earlier, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Olanishakin, urged the graduates to exhibit the highest professionalism in promoting excellence in Nigeria.
He assured that the NIPSS board will continue to support the institute to produce qualitative policies that will lead to a better Nigeria.