The acting Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, on Tuesday expressed his regrets on the inability of the Federal Government to meet the set goals of the National Population Policy.
Oyetunji was speaking at the concluding meeting of the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development (NPP) in Abuja.
He said that previous administrations had shown inability to pursue policy targets because of a lack of funding of policy goals.
Oyetunji described the population policy as an articulation of government’s intention to pursue development, aimed at improving quality of life of the populace.
“A review of the study conducted by the National Population Commission in 2015 showed that the implementation of the policy left a lot to be desired.
“The factors responsible for the low performance of the policy and unmet policy targets were identified as lack of political will, non-implementation of policy objectives, insufficient funding etc.”
Oyetunji said that after rigorous review processes and consultations, the revised NPP was produced in 2018 and submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for presentation to the Federal Executive Council.
According to him, the concluding meeting is a response to the directive of the SGF, aimed at ensuring the incorporation of changes in the institutional framework of the revised policy.
He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support in the effort to conduct a reliable and accurate census in the near future.
“Mr President has followed this step up by approving funds to the commission to complete the national enumeration area demarcation which is a major preparatory activity for population and housing census.”
Making a presentation, a resource person, Sani Gar, who was a former Director of the Population Management Department of the NPC, said that the policy would among other things, give couples the right to decide the number of children to have.
Gar said that the policy was aimed achieving sustainable development and achieving balance between population growth and development.
He noted that one of the greatest goals of the policy was to achieve universal health for Nigerians by reducing under five mortality rates as well as enhancing demographic dividends.
The first policy on population development in Nigeria was formulated in 1988 when conscious attempt was made to integrate population issues into national development agenda.