Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, has stressed the need for robust population management policies.
Senator Udoma who was speaking at an interactive session at the ongoing Parliamentary Open Week, which kicked off at the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday, told the lawmakers that population management is one of the 60 key programmes set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as a strategic initiative to ensure that the gains of government economic policies are felt by the citizens.
This was in realization that unless something urgent was done about the country’s rate of population growth, it would be difficult for the people to feel the full impact of the GDP growth; which is why whilst seeking to grow the economy, government is at the same time seeking to manage the rate of population growth.
In a statement, signed by the minister’s media aid, Akpandem James, the minister said the ministry is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to carry out a comprehensive review of the current population policy and would require the support of the National Assembly for effective implementation of the revised policy.
The review would also entail benchmarking initiatives undertaken by other countries with high levels of population.
He pointed out that with an estimated population of 198 million people and a projected growth rate 3.2% per annum, Nigeria’s population will be more than 289 million by 2050 and the fourth largest in the world. Therefore it is imperative that we introduce measures to bring down the growth rate to less than 2%.
He noted that following the implementation of reform initiatives in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the business environment has been reinvigorated and is improving steadily as investor confidence has returned with capital inflows in 2017 doubling that of 2016; and that of first quarter of 2018 growing by 500% in comparison with same quarter in 2017.
The Minister pointed out that while the Exchange Rate gap has been narrowing progressively, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing steadily; and positive results are being recorded in all key sectors except Services which, he explained, is usually the last to recover from a period of recession.