President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will implement the 12-point recommendations on Population Growth and Human Capital Development in Nigeria submitted by graduates of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Senior Executive Course 42.

Mr Buhari said this at the graduation ceremony of the 78 participants of the Senior Executive Course 42 in Kuru, Plateau state on Saturday.

PREMIUM TIMES provided live updates of the ceremony.

Represented by the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, the president said the participants performed brilliantly despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the NIPSS put in place stringent infection prevention protocols to ensure that the deep analytical work of the participants was not adversely affected.

He said this support led to the completed investigations into policy interaction and implications of Nigeria’s dynamic population growth for the country’s human capital development.

NIPSS is Nigeria’s foremost policy formation centre for bureaucrats, private sector leaders, army officers, medium-rank and senior civil servants.

Many policymakers in Nigeria have attended the NIPSS.

Notable among them are ex-military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida and Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Each year, NIPSS develops a policy plan for the country. It reports directly to the Nigerian President and is supervised by the Vice President.

Mandate

This year, President Buhari gave the institute a mandate to proffer policy options that will enable the government to fashion out appropriate responses to the challenge of rapid population growth and slow pace of human capital development.

To attain this mandate, NIPSS collaborated with a Non-Governmental Organisation, Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC).

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DRPC, supported NIPSS by ensuring access to practitioner’s expertise and cutting-edge experiences from the field through interactions with leaders of civil society advocacy organizations under the PACFaH@Scale project.

Recommendations

In his remarks, Director-General of the National Institute, Habu Galadima, said Nigeria is currently in a demographic crisis, characterised by a phenomenally high rate of out of school children; high dependency ratio; as well as high unemployment – all driven by high population growth rates.

He said this 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 at 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 noted that the demographic crisis is further compounded by inadequate attention given to the components of human capital development over the years.

He said this includes health and wellbeing, education and skills development as well as expansion of per capita income and the gross domestic product.

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He explained that the SEC 42 recommended the approval of the revised National Population Policy 2019 and ensure effective implementation of the policy.

Mr Galadima stated that Family Planning (FP) is important for the management of Nigeria’s population.

He said FP is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent maternal, infant, and child mortality in the country.

“It can reduce maternal mortality by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, the number of abortions, and the proportion of births at high risk,” he said.

He noted that family planning can help promote gender equality, reduce poverty, accelerate socioeconomic development, and protect the environment.’’

He said the recently launched Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint 2020-24 presents a strategic opportunity with a broad well-articulated strategy that addresses gaps in provision of high-quality FP services.

He urged the National Population Commission (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 2021 to 2024,” he said.


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