Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, has said that the state government is set to structure its demographic dividend into economic growth. He noted that Lagos is the economic powerhouse of Nigeria with a GDP of over $80 billion and a population of 23 million.
He disclosed this recently at a seminar on Policy Brief with the theme, “Lagos State Demographic Dividends”, organised by the Lagos Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) for public officers and other government officials.
Addressing the participants, the Commissioner noted that, development experts worldwide had concerned themselves about the vagaries, anomaly and pervasive poverty often associated with any geographical entity with population bulge.
He opined that, some researchers had carried out studies to ascertain the effect of population structure, size and policy environment on the socio-economic well-being of the people, and the likely future outlook.
Mr. Ashade averred that, it has become imperative that all stakeholders in the population sector must work together and ensure that all population-related indices are compiled and disseminated on regular basis, for effective decision-making and make research on demographic dividend in Lagos State worthwhile.
He opined that, data gathering is the soul of good governance, adding that, any Nation or State that cannot ascertain its population indices cannot effectively plan for the need of its people and therefore will fail.
In a paper delivered at the event by Professor Olanrewaju Olaniyan of the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan titled, ‘Demographic Dividend in Lagos State: The opportunity we cannot afford to forgo’, he explained that, demographic dividend is the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure.
According to him, “The reflection of the demographic transition that the State had gone through in the past decades shows increase in the support ratio needed to drive the State’s economy into a faster path of economic growth, a window of opportunity that can lead to demographic dividend if well exploited”.
He noted that, at an early stage of [demographic] transition, fertility rates fall, leading to fewer young mouths to feed.
He added that, during this period, the labour force temporarily grows more rapidly than the population dependent on it, freeing up resources for investment in economic development and family welfare.
The first demographic dividend, he added was transitory because, eventually, the population of working age ceases to increase, in which case he said, led to drop in income per consumer.
Professor Olaniyan stated further that, the State had transited from high fertility and mortality rates to low fertility and mortality rates with the number of children born per woman falling from 3.9 in 2003 to 3.4 in 2014 which if compared to other States is lower.
He maintained that, the improvement in education and literacy levels of mothers has reduced the mortality rate as well as public health interventions. [LASG]
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