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POOR FUNDING HAMPERS NPC OPERATIONS

By NBF News

The National Population Commission (NPC) has said its demographic activities were being hampered by poor funding, noting that the commission was left at the mercy of counterpart funding from states.

NPC Commissioner in Borno State, Dr Suleiman Bello disclosed this at a briefing with journalists in Maiduguri to mark this year World Population Day that most states in the country hardly fulfilled their part of the counterpart fund. He, however, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been contributing to the NPC activities to ensure it performed minimally.

'Honestly, funding is our major problem. There is this impression that the NPC is only established to conduct census. This is far from the truth as there are other constitutional responsibilities like vital registration given to us. We rank among the government establishments that engage in one form of activity or the other throughout the year,' he explained.

Bello who read the address of the NPC National Chairman, Chief Samu'ila Danko Makama noted that the commission could not carry out effective demographic tasks and statistics regarding births, deaths, immigration and emigration of people in many local governments in the state due to inadequate fund. He noted that inadequate staff in the state had equally slowed down its activities.

He said the commission which was also charged with the mandate of collecting and producing demographic data for planning purposes ought to be financed adequately as to help the Ministry of National Planning in designing roadmap for the socio-economic growth of the nation. He disclosed that the commission would soon conduct the 2010 Nigeria Education Data Survey (NEDS) in all the states of the Federation and FCT to collect additional information on education and provide reliable, up-to-date data to support education programme, policies and planning.

The NPC, according to the commissioner, would implement the NEDS exercise in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). He explained that the survey would cover about 30, 000 households with children between the ages of four and 16. He said a minimum of 790 households would be covered in each state.

While commending the UNFPA, relevant MDAs and Non Governmental Oganisations (NGO's) for their supports, he said this year's theme, 'Every One Counts' was apt to underscore the significance of data to national planning.