As the National Assembly begins to tinker with the 2023 budget, the Enugu State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David Ugwunta, as well as other stakeholders, has declared that Nigeria needs to invest about N7 trillion to get out of malnutrition.
Briefing newsmen at weekend, during the just concluded five-day workshop in Enugu on “‘Community of Practice’ on Building Capacity to Mainstream Nutrition into the Investment Agenda,” organised by Enugu State Ministry of Budget and Planning, in collaboration with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) for select health, nutrition experts, journalists and others from Abia, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Benue, Anambra, Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Commissioner said what they can do differently to boost nutrition is to continue making investments.
He said: “I do not know how investments have been in the past, but we were told in this workshop that the Federal Government requires N7 trillion to ensure we are out of malnutrition.
“It needs injection of funds and dedication of people, who are in policymaking and are at the other end, to make sure deliverables get to the grassroots.
“Stakeholders in nutrition have to dedicate their time, energy and resources to do things differently, because part of what came out here is that even when investments are not made, the little being made does not go down to where it is supposed to. That is why we need to re-dedicate ourselves and redefine our purpose in the fight against malnutrition. Once that is done, even if N1 million is invested, it will go a long way, because it will have its own multiplier effect for things to run around.
“It has to do with development, and it does not happen overnight; so, we should be talking about a period of three to five years if there is dedicated spending in the right places, and even before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of 2030, Nigeria will go a long way in fighting malnutrition.”