Lack of budget lines in MDAs undermining fight against malnutrition in Kaduna state –CSO

Kaduna State
Kaduna State

ByPHILIP DANIEL YATAI

The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) says the absence of budget lines in nutrition related Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are undermining ongoing fight against malnutrition in Kaduna State.

Mr Sunday Okoronkwo, CS-SUNN’s Project Manager told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Zaria, that nutrition is a multisectoral issue that requires a multi-sectoral approach.

Okoronkwo said that the National Policy on Food and Nutrition as domesticated by the Kaduna state government has specified a role for each MDA under the State Committee on Food and Nutrition.

He commended the state government for developing a Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (KDMSPAN), 2020-2024, that sets out nutrition specific (curative) and nutrition sensitive (preventive) interventions with measurable targets.

The CS-SUNN’s Project Manager said that each sector has key activities and contributions to make in the implementation of the high impact; low cost interventions that would reduce and eventually eradicate malnutrition in the state.

Okoronkwo stressed the need for nutrition budget lines for relevant MDAs like heath, education, agriculture and human services among others to successfully implement interventions specified in the policy and plans.

According to him, it is nearly impossible to address malnutrition in the state without nutrition budget lines in these critical MDAs.

“Each of the MDAs need to have a budget line that will enable them allocate adequate resources in their annual budget to enable them implement their mandate as stipulated in the policy and the plan.

“What we currently have in the state is a situation where nutrition budget line is domiciled in Planning and Budget Commission. This poses a serious challenge in accessing and utilising the fund.

“The ideal thing to do, in line with global best practices, is for the line MDAs to have a plan, budget for it and seek release of the fund to undertake planned activities to meet their annual targets.

“Otherwise, what is the sense of having plans that you will not budget for annually? It is not only about creating plans, but also allocating resources to implement to address the target challenges.”

Similarly, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, appealed to the state government to consider creating a budget lines for nutrition line MDAs to avoid gap in the implementation of the KDMSPAN.

“Beyond creation of budget lines, we also want timely release of the funds to enable the MDAs implement their interventions and programmes,” Ideva told NAN.

On his part, Malam Isa Ibrahim, Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children International, expressed disappointed over the state’s reluctance to create budget lines in relevant MDAs for nutrition intervention.

Ibrahim pointed out that nutrition partners in the state had carried out series of advocacy visits to all line MDAs to push for the creation of budget lines.

He said: “to our disappointment, some of the budget lines created in the 2020 draft budget were removed from the final draft submitted to the state’s House of Assembly.

“The budget is the basic source and the foundation of planning and executing plans and programmes, but Kaduna state is not really making much progress in terms of allocating resources to key MDAs.

“It is not too late. We are still appealing to the state government and the House of Assembly to reconsider recreating budget relevant MDAs before the 2020 budget is passed into law.

“Also, most of the funds allocated in 2019 budget were not cash backed and many children under five years in the state are dying while more are becoming malnourished.

“This is because of the law investment in financial and human resource to provide nutrition services,” he told NAN

Culled from NAN

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