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Review 2020 health budget, BudgIT urges senate

BudgIT, a Non-Governmental Organisation that tracks government spending has appealed to the Senate to review the allocation to health in the 2020 Budget and restore allocation for capital projects back to N159bn.

In a recent statement sent to the upper chamber of the National Assembly and posted on its official Twitter handle, @BudgITng, Director of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde said that the NGO “sent a memo to @nassnigeria highlighting our requests on the huge cuts in allocation to major sectors in the 2020 revised budget.

“UBEC (Universal Basic Education Commission) budget should be restored to N112bn & capital projects under Health Budget be restored to N159bn. Other key sectors should also be prioritised,” he said.

According to him, capital projects under the health budget should be restored to N159bn, which represents at least 10 per cent of capital expenditure in the budget.

“FG needs to introduce more projects meant solely for developmental impact. This current pandemic is enough to reveal the vulnerability of Nigeria’s health sector.

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“Allocation for Basic Health Care Fund should be restored to the initial N44.5bn. The BHCF budget ceiling categorically stipulates ”not less than 1%” which means that @nassnigeria can vote more funds for BHCF.

“While we await the harmonised position of @nassnigeria on the proposed 2020 revised budget. Nigerians are counting on #NASS to use the collective power vested on them for the socio-economic interest of the people,” he emphasised

Controversies had trailed the approved 2020 budget with stakeholders in the health sector condemning the over 50 per cent reduction in health allocation by the federal government.

In the proposed 2020 budget approved on Tuesday, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which is meant to cater to all the primary healthcare centres across the 774 local government areas in the country, was significantly reduced from N44.4bn to N25.5bn, a decrease of more than 42.5 per cent.

Chairman, Lagos chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr. Tunji Akintade said the decision was bad for the health sector.

“The budget for health is not even up to 8 per cent as against the 15 per cent agreement we had, yet the federal government still went ahead to cut it. First, the overheads reflected in that budget has eaten deep into it,” he lamented.

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, also warned that a nation that needs to reduce cost because of dwindling national income must first do away with avoidable expenses, including the renovation the National Assembly.

On June 11, the Senate passed the revised 2020 budget of N10,805,544,664,642 which was sent in by President Muhammadu Buhari, a day after members of the House of Representatives had approved the same figure.

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