Nutrition stakeholders across the country have endorsed the allocation of five per cent of national and states’ total budgets to nutrition programmes and activities.
Ms Beatrice Eluaka, the Executive Secretary, Society – Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.
Eluaka revealed that “Nigeria has the highest burden of stunting in Africa and is second highest in the world next to India.”
The executive secretary emphasised that nutrition is a development issue, hence the need to increase investments therein.
According to her, CS-SUNN organised a two-day meeting on improved nutrition investments in the 2020 state annual budgets with key stakeholders of nutrition line ministries from the National, Lagos and Kano states.
She stated that the meeting organised by CS-SUNN in collaboration with Alive & Thrive and Save the Children Nigeria was aimed at promoting understanding of current nutrition situation and the dire need for prompt action.
She noted that during the meeting, stakeholders observed that budgetary performance for nutrition activities across states remained low, with attendant poor utilisation of budgetary releases in some cases.
She added that stakeholders decried the lack of budget line and budgetary allocation for nutrition activities in local government budgets.
She added that “beyond increased budgets for nutrition activities, there is need to match this with timely release and cash backings.
“States need to find proactive ways, like use of pressure groups, to follow up memos for improved releases.
“ In subsequent meetings, Procurement, Finance and Accounts Directors in the States should collaborate with local government councils toward ensuring that budget lines were created in the respective council budgets,” she said.
She quoted Ms Halimat Yakasai, State Nutrition Officer, as saying that Kano State had already paid over N300 million for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to UNICEF and at the moment awaiting delivery.
The Lagos State Nutrition Officer, Braheem Olubunmi, disclosed that the state government budgeted over N385 million for nutrition and had already approved over N23 million for the state Ministry of Health nutrition budget.
The Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu, represented by Tokunbo Farabiyi, lamented that “over 800,000 children die annually in Nigeria with malnutrition, contributing to over 50 per cent of the deaths.” (NAN)
Edited by Saidu Adamu/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyuhttps://nnn.ng/stakeholders-endorse-5/