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April 17, 2024

 FG Urged to Revisit National Food Safety Bill

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to revisit the National Food Safety Bill in order to develop and implement effective policies to enhance food safety, improve healthy and economic wellbeing in Nigeria. 

The CSOs include the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), National Economic Summit Group (NESG), E-Health Africa, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), through a Third-Party Advocacy Campaign (TPAC).

The call was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day retreat for relevant committees of the National Assembly of Nigeria (NASS) with the theme: “Retreat on Food Fortification, Workforce Nutrition, and Food Systems Transformation”, aimed at equipping members of NASS with the knowledge and tools necessary to develop and implement effective policies and bills to drive food fortification, nutrition, and sustainable food systems transformation. 

Part of the communique read: “The National Food Safety Bill should be revisited by a five-member Committee, two members in the Senate (Health and Agriculture), three members in the House of Representatives (NAFDAC, Agriculture – Food Production, and Nutrition), and with GAIN providing technical assistance; to address gaps and conflicts in the Bill and champion it through legislative processes.

“To effectively steer the country’s food systems and nutrition landscape, the position of the Special Adviser to the President on food systems and nutrition should be filled and strengthened with data analysis tools, technical assistance, and increased funding.

“A food fortification Bill should be developed and processed to passage and assent, with the involvement of all relevant MDAs.

“A national workforce nutrition policy should be drafted with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.”

The CSOs also called for  Public awareness about workforce nutrition and associated interventions should be raised through impactful evidence-based campaigns to foster widespread acceptance, and pave the way for ratification and implementation of the draft policy.

They added that a bill for a national agency on nutrition should be developed and championed through legislative processes.

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