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Reps restate commitment to fast-tracking demographic transition

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By Ikenna Osuoha

The House of Representatives has restated its commitment to making laws that would help to fast-track the country’s demographic transition.

Mr Femi Gbajibiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives said this at a parliamentary summit on fast tracking Nigeria’s Demographic Transition in Abuja on Monday.

Gbajibiamila acknowledged that the country was faced with population explosion.

“It is evident that we have population explosion in Nigeria, fast tracking underscores the urgency now, we need to double action.

“Members of the House of Representatives have shown commitment to achieving Demographic Transition through training of youths on skill acquisition,” he said.

The Speaker, however, identified education as key to achieving demographic transition.

He said that increase in poverty index was not particular with Nigeria but a global issue.

Mr Lawal Idrisou, the Chairman, House Committee on Population assured of the committee”s support to achieve demographic transition.

Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, the Country Director, World Bank emphasised the imperatives of good policies and programmes for children.

Chaudhuri said that education and healthcare for children were essential pillars required for Demographic Transition.

He called for more funding and investment in all sectors of the economy, saying that Nigeria has the lowest level of public spending in the world.

Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC) identified fertility decline as roadmap to Demographic Transition.

Kwarra said that having an age structure with low dependence ratio was also critical in fast tracking demographic transition.

Kwarra who solicited the support of relevant stakeholders for conduct of the census, said that sectors like education, health and good governance were imperative for demographic transition.

Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said that demographic transition could not be fast tracked without educating the girl child.

Mueller called for immediate end to child marriage which according to her was a deprivation of the girl child’s education and health rights.

Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs said that the whole conversation centred on the need to invest in the girl child to create achieve demographic transition.

Tallen said that called for basic education and health for all especially the girl child to fast track Demographic Transition.

Dr Haliru Yahaya, Emir of Shonga affirmed the commitment of the traditional institution to fertility reduction through child spacing.

Yahaya condemned the procreation of many children without provision of adequate care and education for them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Demographic Transition is the roadmap to achieving demographic dividend.

Demographic dividend is the level of economic stability achieved by a country with a shift in its population structure from high dependence ratio to low dependence ratio among the working population. (NAN)

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