State Houses of Assembles have been identified as key facilitators that would ensure improved funding of nutrition related activities in states.
They have been charged to devise acceptable means of mediating between policy makers and the executive arm of government for passable provision of fund for nutrition in the 2021 budget.
These views were reflected in a communique issued and signed to mark the end of a two-day Legislative Retreat on Adequate Funding for Health Nutrition for focal states, held at Ibom Hotels and Golf Resorts in Akwa Ibom on Saturday.
Among key officers of the body which also signed the communique are Nehemiah Tsentse Chairman, Nasarawa and Yusuf Auta, Kaduna secretary. Others included Yahuza Abdullahi, Niger, Muktar Ado Yakasai, Kano, Braheem Olubunmi, Lagos, Isa Abdul Osama, Nasarawa.
The Focal states which is made up of the five states mentioned earlier, urged participants from these states to liaise with their respective Houses of Assembly to ensure that local government areas are also made to contribute to the nutrition funds.
The participating states appealed to the organizers, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria [CS-SUNN] in collaboration with Save the Children [SCI] and Alive and Thrive (A&T) to always assist the states with advocacy materials so as to enable them engage state legislators and the executive arm of government on the need to provide adequate funding for nutrition activities.
“The Speaker, Niger state House of Assembly should facilitate the retreat outcome on Nutrition budget with his fellow Speakers through the conference of Speakers; the challenge of ensuring early budget releases should be tabbed through the Nutrition Unit of the Northern Governor Forum to the state governors in the forum. The same presentation and outcome from NGF should be tabled before the National Economic Council [NEC].
“State teams through state Assemblies should explore the possibility of getting one percent of Local Government Areas funds deducted at source to fund Nutrition activities at local government levels. States Committee on Food Nutrition should deepen and cascade the knowledge gained to relevant officers involved in nutrition in their various states”.
Participants at the retreat observed that as it stands today, funding for nutrition activities in focal states was grossly inadequate, adding that with such poor funding, addressing the current nutrition challenges in these states would be a delusion.