- The Nigerian Medical Association said N60 billion is missing from the 2016 budget
- NMA president asked the National Assembly to revise and review the allocation to the health ministry
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed shock that N60 billion, equivalent of 1% of consolidated revenue guaranteed by the National Health Act to fund basic health is missing from the 2016 budget, Daily Trust reports.
In a statement a Friday, January 29, president of the NMA, Dr Kayode Obembe said President Muhammadu Buhari's N6.08 trillion budget only provides N1, 448 per capita health spending, lower than the N1, 546 per capita spending in 2015, compared with a recommendation of N6, 908 by the World Health Organisation.
Obembe stated that it was a sharp departure from the prescribed 15% of the national budget for health made in 2001 in a meeting of African Heads of States and Government which Nigeria hosted in Abuja.
He noted that the 3.65% allocation for health in the 2016 budget would “never encourage the advancement of universal health coverage which is the only panacea towards improving availability, access, quality and efficiency of the health services to reduce the disparaging health indices which continue to malign the image of our country in the comity of nations.”
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According to him, Tanzania, Rwanda, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Malawi and Central African Republic have all marked up to 15% of their budget for health, according to WHO figures.
The NMA therefore, called on the National Assembly to "urgently review and revise the paltry allocation of N221.7 billion to the health ministry in the 2016 Appropriation Bill."
"It is on this premise that we call on the National Assembly as the only organ that could mitigate this looming disaster in the healthcare delivery sector in 2016 at this juncture, to look dispassionately without any partisan sentiments at what should be done to substantially increase the allocation to the health ministry in order to deliver better healthcare to the Nigerian people," said Obembe.
President Buhari had presented a N6.08 trillion budget before a joint session of National Assembly in December 2015. 221.7bn has been allocated to the health sector.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had described the budget as a big fraud and executive conspiracy tailored towards mortgaging the future of the nation.