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Nigeria will soon reap benefits of huge population – NPC Chairman

Chief Eze Duruiheoma

Nigeria will soon begin to reap benefits of its huge population, Chairman, National Population Commission, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, has said.

The agency boss stated this in Abuja on Tuesday October 24 while briefing journalists on the forthcoming 5th Annual Population Lecture Series (APLS 2017)

The theme for the event, which holds on 30th of this month, is “Achieving Demographic Dividend: Strategic Tool for National Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development.”

Duruiheoma explained that there had been increase in the share of the nation’s population in the working ages, that is age 15-64 years and the corresponding decline of those in the non-working ages (0-14 years and those 65 and above)

He said current large population of young persons in the country presents an opportunity for accelerated economic growth provided the necessary investments are made.

He appealed that tiers of government and other employers invest heavily on creation of decent and productive jobs to absorb the large proportion of working age population, education of young people, particularly of adolescent boys and girls.

This is even as he said  such investments should be made on health care services with access to appropriate and wide range of family planning commodities, improved nutrition, information and positively engage young people in governance to address youth restiveness, combat desertification and invest more in modern agriculture to ensure food sufficiency and security.

Duruiheoma described demographic dividend as the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s mortality and fertility and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population.

According to him, the Federal Government has done a lot in recent time to enable the nation achieve good demographic dividends.

He said the theme of the lecture is akin to the launching of Nigeria’s Roadmap on Demographic Dividend by Vice President of the country, Prof Yemi Osinbajo,  in July this year, including “the current concerted efforts by the Federal Government to revamp the nation’s economy through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.”

He said implementation of the National Roadmap on Demographic Dividend had begun in earnest under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through the Economic Growth and Recovery Programme and comprehensive Social Investment Programme.

“Programmes being pursued under these bold initiatives such as the N-Power, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer and the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme will lay a solid foundation for reaping the immense benefits of demographic dividends,.” He said.

He challenged state governments in the country to emulate the Federal Government in such programmes.

“The Annual Population Lecture Series was initiated and organized by the Commission in the late 1990s. The early series of the APLS were run for three consecutive years which focused on topical issues relating to Nigeria’s population.

“Upon the realization of the significance of sensitizing government officials and the general public about the challenges facing Nigeria’s population, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) took over the funding of the lecture series, while the commission rendered the coordination activities.

“However, due to the heavy burden of conducting the 2006 National Population and Housing Census that rested on the commission, the UNFPA decided to move the coordination of the lecture series to the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, PPFN. The UNFPA decided to revert this noble coordination activity to the commission through its population institute as from this year,” he stated.

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