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Parliament, NPC Set Agenda to Avert Economic Catastrophe

By Fatima Saka 

The Office of the Honorable Speaker, House of Representatives and the National Population Commission has taken forefront to set up legislative agenda on the subject of the demographic transition in order to avert population catastrophe and pervasive poverty that is about to downside the nation’s development and economic growth.

This followed at the event organized on Monday in Abuja on the Parliamentary summit on Fast Tracking Nigeria’s Demographic Transition, supported by the World Bank.

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Nigeria National Assembly, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila said he is going to use the power of his office to address these issues confronting the country. Adding to that, Nigeria today has a population explosion.

Speaking of dealing with urgency on how to fast track what needed to be done. Analyzing the numbers and data of scary scenarios, the Youth and the adolescent rate of child bearing, and lack of basic health amenities, education, most especially a girl child, as well as high rate unemployment. 

Gbajabiamila said it is over16 years since Nigeria underwent population and Housing Census. Adding that the data of the country’s population today is mainly based on projections and estimates rather than actual census data. 

“Nigeria has a significant and growing youth bulge of the country’s population. We also know that whether this fact turns out to be a good day or tragedy for our nation depends on the policy choices we make today. 

“In the earlier interpretations I was waiting to hear about the next sauce between this and the very topical issue that we’ve all been hearing about for the last three days which is the multidimensional poverty index.

“It’s a very sad story of where we are but for me, the multidimensional poverty index should not be taken in the context of Nigeria or Nigeria should not be a stand-alone in assessing that multidimensional poverty index, but should be a universal input. 

“There’s been a universal increase in the level of poverty. And there are also global conglomerations, all coming together to make what we may call the perfect song. 

“Consequences of a global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, all of these insecurities on universal increase on the poverty index. The question for me is what do we do about this?

The poverty index. released in Nigeria. 133 million people live below poverty. Nigeria needs to address the index.  

We are gathered today to consider the facts about our population and review the  policy options. Specifically, on the discourse of demographic dividend on the growth, the economy that accrues as a result of a change in the age structure of a conscious population. 

To achieve this growth, we must consider deliberate, immediate and sustained action to drive a demographic transition that makes economic growth more attainable.

“This summit, therefore, is an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to become acquainted with the twin ideas of demographic, demographic dividend and demographic transition. 

It is expected that participants in this summit will emerge from the summit with greater clarity about the facts of the nation’s population size, the challenges of managing growth and the opportunities that arise from implementing a sensible national population money event policy. 

“The summit will additionally benefit legislators by providing information about the legislative role in advancing policies that allow for a more pragmatic, more beneficial approach to population management. 

“This is particularly important, as this area of public policy is often considered exclusively an executive reserve. Above all this is an arena for robust conversation and rigorous interrogation of ideas. I hope we’ll all recognize this and maximize the opportunity,” Mr. Speaker.

In his welcomed remarks, the Chairman of NPC Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra expressed that in analysis demographic dividend is not automatic. Adding that, It requires each nation to meet certain conditions that starts with achieving the rapid and steady fertility incline politically to permit a sufficient demographic transition for economic transformation to overall

Kwarra added that achieving these fields will facilitate the emergence of a population phrase structure that post fueled dependence for Nigerians youth and productive working population age that will bring prosperity. 

“This achievement can happen only if Nigeria makes the right choices by adopting targeted sounds social economic policies and interventions in key sectors such as education, health, human empowerment, job creation, and decent employment and guided by good governance that is built on strong responsiveness institutions.

In her ministerial remarks, Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs said this summit is timely s the nation prepared for next population censu. Adding that the agenda should center on the adolescent, that if girl child is able to retain in school between age of 18 that isthe senior secondary school.

“Ensure that she’s supported with skills,  Empower after the training, let her have something to do to take care of herself and her family. If that is done then we are making progress towards the demographic dividends,” she added.

Speaking to the urgency, Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director expressed that the organization has $600 billion programs introduced to support the Ministry of Education in multiple states. 

He further stated that the aim of that program, is to provide best education service delivery to all and to help reduce the number of out of school children in Nigeria. But adding to that, that over 2 million are out of school. Adding that, that is the challenge been discussed today.

He lamented over the fertility rate in Nigeria, is as a results of so many children coming up more than the system can bear.

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