Nigeria's Minister of Finance Says New Plan Will Encourage 'Child Spacing' Not Limit Childbirth
Zainab Ahmed has clarified earlier statements about limiting the amount of children a woman can have, stating that the federal government will instead encourage women to "wait between pregnancies."
UPDATE 10/24/18: Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has taken to Twitter to clarify statements she made at the Sustainable Economic Opportunities: Ending the Vicious Cycle at the 2018 Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday, stating that the government met with traditional leaders to discuss ways to encourage "chid spacing" rather than plans to limit the number of children women can have.
The proposed plan came under scrutiny from many international observers.
"The federal government has been engaging critical stakeholders like traditional and religious leaders to advise their members on child spacing," she wrote. "We never said we are placing a cap on childbirth. What is child spacing? This is a healthy practice of waiting between pregnancies," she added.
Read on for the original story:
Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, announced yesterday, that the country is considering a new birth control plan that will limit the amount of children a woman can have, reports BBC Africa.
With a population of 186 million, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. According to Ahmed, the new policy would be in response to the economic risks presented by increased population growth such as extreme poverty and unemployment.
During the "Sustainable Economic Opportunities: Ending the Vicious Cycle at the 2018 Nigerian Economic Summit" in Abuja on Tuesday, the minister disclosed that the government had been consulting with traditional leaders and other officials to discuss the proposed policy.
"We have been engaging traditional rulers and other leaders," Ahmed was quoted as saying by Punch Nigeria. "Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP [Economic Recovery Growth Plan], which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions," she added.
"And we hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth."
According to The Guardian Nigeria, the number of children allowed would be limited to two.
Besides the childbirth limit, other economic measures mentioned by the minister include finding "ways to engage our youths to be active and ensure that transportation is effective, available and reasonably priced."
Reactions to the news on social media have been mixed. Some observers believe that country-wide enforcement of family planning is indeed a necessary step towards alleviating poverty.
Others say that the direct cause of Nigeria's economic challenges is bad leadership, and that leaders should focus on improved governance instead.