By Ismail Auwal
The House of Representatives has requested that the federal government “urgently control” the country’s population growth.
The lawmakers passed the resolution during a plenary session on Tuesday, Chinedu Obidigwe, a lawmaker from Anambra state, sponsored the adoption of a motion.
Obidigwe stated that the federal government should make a “conscious and concerted effort” to secure Nigerians’ future.
He noted that the country’s population is expected to reach 401 million by 2050, necessitating the need for the government to set aside funds for the future.
“Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) aims to save money for future generations, provide stabilisation of funds to defend the economy against commodity (oil) price shocks, and provide financing for badly-needed infrastructure,” he said.
“Nigeria, with an estimated population of over 200 million, ranks 58 in SWF ranking which is four places lower than Angola, an oil-producing African country with a population of 32.87 million as of 2021 and has $3.2 billion in assets.
“This is a significant contrast to what other oil producers such as Kuwait, which has $700 billion ‘life after-oil-fund’ different from its $41.7 billion foreign reserves, and Angola with $3.2 billion in assets — both as of March 2021.
“A country such as Kuwait with a population of 4.2 million people and projected growth of 5.3 million by 2050, has a future fund of $700 billion to cater for their future population, whereas Nigeria with an approximate population of over 200 million and an estimated population growth of 401 million people by 2050 has a future generations fund of only $2.5 billion.”
According to the lawmaker, the federal government “spent over N1.8 trillion on debt servicing in the first five months of 2021, representing approximately 98 percent of the total revenue generated in the same period which begs the question of where the savings are”.
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.
Following that, the green chamber, asked the federal government to focus on more “non-oil sectors of the economy by adopting alternative sources of revenue to enable foreign inflow from oil earnings to go straight to the SWF without affecting budget financing”.
The lawmakers also called on the federal government to “urgently control population growth with policies necessary to fix the future population; and also secure approval from the national assembly before tampering with the country’s savings”.