The upper chamber of the National assembly has turned down the plans by the Ministry of Health to procure mosquito nets with $200 million under its malaria programme in the 2022 budget.
When top ministry officials appeared before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt for budget defence on Tuesday, members expressed concern about what they called an “outrageous” budget. Senator Gershom Bassey, enraged by the proposal, told the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mahmuda Mamman, that the proposed expenditure was unsustainable.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), clarified that the $200 million was for mosquito net importation and local production and that the World Bank required Nigeria to buy from a specific producer.
He went on to say that the funds are intended for 13 of the country’s most vulnerable states.
Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the chairman of the Health Committee and a member of the committee on local and foreign debt, criticized the move, calling it a misplaced priority.
Oloriegbe told ministry officials that the World Bank should not dictate to Nigeria where mosquito nets should be purchased.
“They can’t lend us money and tell us where to get mosquito nets at the same time.” “This is something that can be found locally,” he said.
Oloriegbe demanded all documents relating to the World Bank’s $200 million loan for malaria medicine and mosquito nets.
“We know we have challenges,” he continued, “but that does not mean we should borrow for malaria medicine.”
The committee also rejected Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the former Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)proposal ,’s for a $100 million external borrowing plan to combat Coronavirus.
In other news, the Senate Committee on Science and Technology has rejected the National Board for Technology Incubation’s budget proposal for 2022. (NBTI).
Senator Uche Ekwunife, the committee’s chairman, revealed this on Tuesday, when the board’s management, led by acting Director-General Taiwo Somefun, appeared before the panel to defend its 2022 budget.
Checks revealed that the Ministry of Finance had revoked the financial autonomy granted to the agency’s over 40 incubation centers across the country in the 2022 budget, combining their budget proposals with those of the agency’s headquarters.
Further investigation revealed that Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, failed to persuade Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, to reverse the decision.
Senator Ekwunife, speaking to the NBTI’s management, called the finance minister’s action unconstitutional and said it was harmful to the development of technology and the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerian youth.
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