Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has appealed to international agencies to assist Nigeria’s drive for self-sufficiency by encouraging the local production of items required for the execution of their projects in the country.
Udoma made the appeal when a delegation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNDPA) led by its Executive Director, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin paid him a courtesy call, noted that Nigeria has the human capacity to realise its full potential as Africa’s largest economy but needs the cooperation of development partners.
As part of plans to achieve self-sufficiency, the minister said government is focused on encouraging small and medium-scale industries and promoting made-in-Nigeria goods because there is a lot of scope for production and expansion.
“It is important that we support, patronise and help them improve on the quality of goods produced in Nigeria,” he said.According to Udoma, there is no reason Nigeria cannot manufacture most of the drugs and other medical accessories needed in the treatment and control of maternal mortality and other related medical conditions and would appreciate assistance more in the area of production of these materials locally.
He pledged the ministry’s readiness to work with international development partners and other relevant departments and agencies within the country towards reducing the rate of maternal and infant mortality in the country.
Osotimehin, who was accompanied by officials from DFID and USAID, said they were in Nigeria to hold talks with stakeholders on health and other related issues which affect the economic well-being of the nation.
He stressed that there was the need to check the rate of population growth in the country, adding that health facilities were being overstretched, leading to avoidable birth-related deaths.
He said the uncontrolled reproduction regime also fosters the alarming rate of maternal mortality, a development he said should be addressed immediately if the country is to see meaningful and sustainable growth and development.
According to him, uncontrolled population growth is not just a social issue but a serious economic problem because it leads to financial burden on the society and the national economy.