2018 Budget: 1% NH Act Yet to Be Captured

  • As Niger, Osun, Abia set to pilot $42m health fund

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

‎From all indications, the proposed one per cent consolidated fund for health will not be captured in the 2018 budget, as the federal government is yet to be convinced that the health sector is ready for its implementation, thereby awaiting three pilot states, namely Niger, Abia and Osun to be used as catalyst for the approval.

Rather than capture and approve the consolidated fund, it has approved the release of 10 million dollars which is expected to be added to 20 million dollars from the ‎World Bank through the Global Financing Facility (GFF), 10 million dollars from DFID and two million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This was revealed in Abuja ‎when joint Nigeria GFF core team and Nigeria GFF Civil Society Organisations working group had a consultative meeting with objectives which centred on updates on the current status of the Nigeria GFF investment case and identifying the potential areas that require advocacy among others.

Chairman, board of trustees, Community Health and Research Initiative (CHRI), Dr. Amini Magashi, who summarised discussions of the meeting said with the $42 million dollars, it is expected that life saving drugs will be available in all the health facilities, as well as the provision of procurement and a complete working facility with security and human resources that will manage it.

He advised that the scorecard should be adopted and implemented as a national score card as it is going to track expenditure, allocation, how much is released and disbursed and transparency of the process among others.

He said, “‎the basic healthcare provision fund is not yet captured in the national budget. The reason being that the government of the day is still not convinced that the health sector is ready to implement. So the government is recommending that the GFF which is $20 million should finance the basic healthcare provision fund and there are three states to pilot it and they are Niger, Abia and Osun, so that Nigeria can learn from there.

“We also heard that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also committing $2 million and also DFID, the UK arm is adding $10 million. If we are serious-minded people and committed, we should begin to use this available resources and get things done and after two years, we can learn from that and begin to demand for the total implementation of the provision fund.”

The executive secretary of Healthcare Foundation of Nigeria and representative of CSOs, national platform of the GFF, Dr. Emmanuel Abanida while addressing the press, said the health sector would work effectively when the issue of impunity is addressed as that happens to be the sector’s biggest challenge.

He said the GFF involves all the 36 states including the FCT. However, Nigeria has to start from somewhere and see the lessons it is learning.

He said ,”the most important thing is to reduce impunity. If it is reduces, anybody who is corrupt should be taught to do the proper thing. This is the basic concept of how we can move forward. Punish those who need to be punished and reward those we need to be rewarded and with that, you have more transparency and accountability.

“The three states have been chosen so that we can prove the concept of utilisation of the basic healthcare fund when it eventually comes. It is not just going to be used in the three states. We will use part of it and then we start scaling up,” he added.