The Federal Government has urged relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in population and development to leverage on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to develop a robust 2018 budget on demographic dividend.
Mrs Fatima Mede, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning made the call at a meeting of the National Task Force on Partners in Population and Development (PPD) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The meeting was on “Mainstreaming Demographic Dividend into Budgeting of MDAs”.
Demographic dividend is the economic growth that may result from changes to a country’s age structure.
Achieving demographic dividend requires sustained multi-sectorial investments in health, education, young people, employment, women and girls, trade and industry economic growth, and governance by the government.
Mede, represented by Mr Lanre Adekanye, Deputy Director in the ministry said that the MDAs should develop a robust 2018 budget that would expand the programmes and projects for achieving demographic dividend.
“I also wish to inform you that this gathering will be used as avenue for kick-starting discussions on ageing policy in Nigeria.
“The Ageing Policy will be a subset of the Social Policy of the government,’’ she said.
The Permanent Secretary said that ERGP recognised rapid population growth as a risk to manage, which without this; the achieved Gross Domestic Product (GDP) might be unable to keep pace with the needs of a population that is expanding exponentially.
“Nigeria therefore needs to take a bold and proactive step that addresses the close nexus between the population age structure and our development status,’’ she said.
Mede also expressed condolence to the UNFPA over the loss of the Executive Director of the UNPFA, Late Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, who had contributed immensely to humanitarian services in the country.
Mede, however, thanked the UNFPA for its support to the country in the areas of reproductive health, family planning, population and development and humanitarian services.
Dr Sanjo Faniran, the Assistant Director in the ministry said the meeting, would discuss issues relating to planning and budgeting for population management.
Faniran said that the meeting would discuss the issues to achieving demographic dividend by relevant MDAs in sexual reproductive health, family planning, youth empowerment and population and development in line with the ERGP.
“The issue of budgeting or whatever is going to be included in our budget from 2017 to 2020 should be whatever is contained in EGRP.’’
The director said that the ministry had commenced the process of 2018 budget and that was the reason the ministry called the partners to inform them on the processes.
He said the ministry also needed to inform the Partners those components that have to do with productive health, family planning and population and development.
“The issue of population is actually spelt in the ERGP because population management is becoming an issue and we expect our partners to take up what they are supposed to do.
“To make sure that they put those issues in their budget so that the government can implement the priority areas as contained in the ERGP,’’ the director said.
Faniran, however, urged the MDAS to go back and get the copy of the ERGP and see the priority areas of the government in those areas in population, development and other related issues.
The meeting, organised by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), attracted key MDAs working in areas of population and development