John Doe
Fri, Sep 1, 2023 10:35 AM

Nigeria Loses $1.5 Billion in GDP Annually Due to Malnourished Workers, Says CISLAC

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Nigeria Loses $1.5 Billion in GDP Annually Due to Malnourished Workers, Says CISLAC
Nigeria loses an estimated $1.5 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) every year due to decreased productivity and increased healthcare costs caused by malnourished workers, according to the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). During a stakeholders' session on fortification compliance and workforce nutrition, CISLAC emphasized the significance of improving monitoring of food fortification in Nigeria by large-scale producers. The session highlighted the adverse effects of malnutrition on worker productivity, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to combat the issue.

Lagos - Nigeria is grappling with a significant economic burden caused by malnourished workers, costing the country an estimated $1.5 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) annually, as highlighted by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). The executive director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), revealed this shocking statistic during an interface session with stakeholders focused on promoting fortification compliance and workforce nutrition in Lagos.

Musa (Rafsanjani) emphasized the urgent need for collaboration among food regulators to enhance monitoring and enforcement of food fortification by large-scale producers in Nigeria. He drew attention to the pivotal role of workforce nutrition for the country's economic development, stating that working-class individuals spend around one-third of their day within the work environment, during which they often lack access to healthy and nutritious food due to factors like availability and affordability.

This chronic issue adversely affects productivity, as malnourished workers are more prone to sickness, fatigue, industrial accidents, and absences from work, leading to substantial losses in man-hours. The COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in Ukraine, and severe climatic events have further escalated the costs of nutritious food, leaving more people susceptible to malnutrition.

Musa (Rafsanjani) highlighted that fortifying staple foods with vital vitamins and minerals represents one of the most effective approaches to improving the nutritional status of Nigeria's population. The dire consequences of malnutrition on health, productivity, and overall economic development necessitate urgent action.

Notably, the Nigerian government introduced regulations and mandatory food fortification policies in 2009 and 2019, respectively, to support and promote fortification efforts. These policies are currently being implemented by three key agencies - the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).

While these agencies have made significant efforts within their respective mandates to implement and monitor compliance with the fortification policy, there remains a pressing need to improve overall compliance. Musa (Rafsanjani) highlighted the importance of ensuring that all mandatory food vehicles, both locally produced and imported, are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.

Stakeholders from various sectors have convened to contribute their expertise and recommendations towards achieving compliance with the food fortification policy. The key challenge lies in raising awareness about the importance of food fortification to generate demand for fortified food products. A significant barrier to compliance is the lack of awareness amongst the general population regarding the benefits of food fortification.

Efforts must be made to educate and inform the public about the positive impact of consuming fortified foods, ensuring that fortified products are affordable and accessible to every Nigerian, regardless of their social status. Only through collaborative efforts can Nigeria address the pressing issue of malnutrition and its socioeconomic consequences.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-01 News

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