Civil Society Cautions State Assembly On Removal Of Nutrition Intervention From Kaduna 2020 Budget, Hails el-Rufai

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai

By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

The nutrition development partners and Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), have petitioned the Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi Shagali on the removal of nutrition intervention budget items in the 2020 state budget.

A joint statement issued by Isah Ibrahim (SAVE THE CHILDREN), Hadiza Umar (CS_SUNN), Chinwe Ezeife (UNICEF), and Sarah Didi Kwasu (Alive & Thrive fhi360) respectively said,

“We, the nutrition development partners and Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), working in Kaduna State, who have appended our signatures hereunder, wish to bring to your leadership notice our positions with regards to the invitation we received titled Invitation for Legislative Public Hearing on A Bill for a Law to Make Provision for Appropriation of Funds for the Government of Kaduna State for the year 2020.”

Read the full statement below:

“PREAMBLE
States in Northern Nigeria where Kaduna state belongs are the most affected by the two forms of malnutrition stunting and wasting. 

Kaduna state had made some progress on food and nutrition intervention particularly in the development of relevant policies, strategies, operational plans and allocation of funds across two levels of government (State and LGAs) to ensure more domestic resources are mobilized to address malnutrition among women and children of the state
However, Kaduna state is still far behind in terms of nutrition development in the country. 
Currently, the State ranked tenth (10th) with the higher burden of stunted children (50.5%) among the 36 states of Nigeria including the FCT, Abuja while5.2% of the state children are wasted.
Kaduna State is ranked eleventh (11th) with the higher burden of children that are underweight (24.3%) among the 36 states of the country including the FCT
Kaduna state nutrition problems are closely related to the poor general health status of the state population particularly among women and children. 

Current Nutrition Situation Intervention
There are various nutrition interventions going on in the state with huge segment of funding from the development partners.
The State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan intervention is yielding positive impact
There is currently a specific Nutrition Intervention budget line under the State Planning and Budget Commission amounting to N150million in 2019 budget. 
The State has developed its pioneer Five-year Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (KD-MSPAN 2020-2024) with a sum of N234,376,430.00 required for its implementation in the year 2020. 
All the 23 Local Governments of the State have at least two nutrition related budget lines with allocation of funds in their respective 2019 and proposed 2020 budgets,” the statement explained.

Our Observations from 2020 State Budget
The Hon. Speaker will be interested to know that, the forum has gone through the first draft Kaduna State 2020 Budget, and the final 2020 Budget appropriation bill presented to the Assembly by the Executive Arm of Government through Her Excellency, The State Deputy Governor, Hajiya Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe. After an extensive analysis, review of the documents, and comparative analysis with the current fiscal year budget, we hereby make the following observations:
Four nutrition related budget lines were removed in the final 2020 budget (Nutrition Intervention budget line with a sum of N250million, School Garden programme N36.5million and procurement of Ready to Used Therapeutic Food N102million, and Promotion of Nutrition Sensitivity, Food Processing, Utilization and Gender Inclusion) submitted to the Assembly. 
Despite the commitment and approval of the executive arm of government to recruit three thousand health workers including nutritionists under the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, we observed that no provision has been made in the 2020 fiscal year to ensure actualization of this commitment

Challenges
Low recognition by policy makers of malnutrition as a multi-sectoral issue, and a major obstacle to economic and social development. 
Low mainstreaming of nutrition into existing sectoral budgets/programmes.
Lack of dedicated nutrition related budget lines in key relevant nutrition MDAs including Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, Ministry Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Ministry of Water Resources/ RUWASSA, etc
Delay of cash backing of approved funds to implement nutrition activities.”

Recommendations:
Revisit nutrition budget lines that were deleted by the executive arm of government in the 2020 state budget.
Ensure sustainability of Nutrition budget lines to facilitates accessing funds for the implementation of the state multi-sectoral strategic plan of action on nutrition in 2020,
Fund allocation for the implementation of cost effective infant and young child nutrition services. 

OUR PRAYER
While registering our deep appreciation to the Kaduna State House of Assembly under your good leadership for providing opportunity to citizens in making inputs to this important bill, we pray that the Legislative Arm of Government will henceforth consider issue of food and nutrition as a critical development matter that requires legislative timely support through their oversight function in view of the number of children and women that are dying as a result of malnutrition in Kaduna state.”

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