Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the federal government must implement innovative policies and strategies to address the pervasive issue of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The minister who was speaking at the inception dialogue on the United Nations (UN) food systems summit, said implementation of the innovative policies and strategies must ensure that malnutrition is appropriately funded, data-driven in a sustainable manner, with a focus on ensuring that they help to optimise transparency and accountability.
“We in Nigeria are at a critical crossroads. While we have seen some improvements in recent years, particularly in the areas of child nutrition and breast feeding, we know that in order for these improvements to yield results, malnutrition (and other public health issues) must be addressed through the implementation of innovative policies and strategies,” she said.
A statement that was issued by her media aide, Yunusa Abdullahi quotes the minister as saying, “We must continue to work collaboratively across the federal and state governments, and hand in hand with the private sector and development partners. This is particularly true given the dual impact of COVID-19 and the drop in crude oil prices.”
Ahmed also said implementation of the national food summit dialogues is critical to the achievement of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) and the Nigeria Agenda 2050.
She stated that the outputs of the various food summit dialogues would form a critical component for the conclusion of the MTNDP and the Nigeria Agenda 2050, and would, as well, contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
Speaking on the essence of Nigeria National Food Systems Dialogues (NNFSD), Ahmed said, “The NNFSD is required to improve nutrition security, reduce hunger and prevalence of malnutrition in line with the national food and nutrition policy for Nigeria. It is envisioned to create more inclusive, healthier food systems and encourage a collaborative approach towards building a sustainable food system.”