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National Assembly to allocate 15 percent of annual budget to health

Lawmakers of both the appropriation and health committees of the Senate and House of Representatives have resolved to allocate a minimum of 15 percent of the total annual budget to the health sector, just as 1% of the consolidated revenue fund will also be committed to the health sector as stipulated by the National Health Act. The committees also assured that it will improve its oversight of the health sector and health expenditure spending and ensure judicious management of resources allocated to health particularly given the decline in oil revenues.

The resolutions was reached at a retreat on the significance of health for development, organized for members of both the Appropriation and Health Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively by the National Institute for Legislative Studies at the Pan-African Parliament, Midrand, South Africa.

The retreat also involved a visit to the South African Parliament in Cape Town.

The primary objective of the retreat was to deepen technical expertise and broaden the activities of Members of the Committees on Health and Appropriation of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively, to improve systematic and effective oversight of the health sector in Nigeria, and to ensure that government at national and state levels in Nigeria fulfill commitments to child and family health by allocating adequate funding for eradicating childhood killer diseases, routine immunization and other maternal and child health issues.

The 16 Lawmakers from Nigeria, comprising – Senators, House of Representatives Members and staff of NILS, also visited the South African Parliament and held meetings with their counterparts in the Appropriation and Health Committees and the South African Parliament in Cape Town.

In attendance were the Deputy Chairman House Committee on health, Hon. Muhammed Jega, as well as the Vice-chairman of the Committee, Senator Sunday Ogbuji. The retreat was declared open by Hon. David Chapfika, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Zimbabwe and presently an MP and Chairman, Committee of Finance, Parliament of Zimbabwe. 

The sessions were chaired by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on health, Sen. O. Tejuosho.
The Director-General, NILS, Dr. Ladi Hamalai, delivered a goodwill message, through Dr. Yemi Fajingbesin, Director Research and Training, NILS.
Part of the resolutions reached also includes; that the greater political will to accelerate resource allocation to health and ensure that the sector is among the top five priority areas in the national budget; and that Government must provide an enabling regulatory environment as well as a model for public-private partnership to ensure the delivery quality, safe and efficacious medical products and technologies.

Others includes; that the National Assembly will initiate a legislation to make NHIS mandatory to all Nigeria that ensures that all Nigerians are able to access with ease at least primary health care facilities;! and that the National Assembly will support Government’s proposal to build 10,000 primary health care centres across the country in the 2017 budget, and urged that there should be an increased funding for all professional and regulatory agencies and councils.

The committees also resolved that greater coordination of health intervention efforts is essential to ensuring accountability and guarantee that health funding reaches the intended beneficiaries, and hat Nigeria should encourage the harmonization of drug regulations across the ECOWAS sub-region and subsequently the continent as a whole, and that the National Assembly will ensure the domestication of the NEPAD and Africa’s Health Policy-AMRH and Model Law in Nigeria.

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