Budget Reforms Yielding Results in Health Sector, Says Ehanire

Minister of state for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie has said that the reform of the budgeting process in the ministry has led to the efficient use of resources within the health sector.

He said findings revealed that there is “a mis-alignment between planning and budgeting with a disconnect between those responsible for planning (Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics) and those responsible for budgeting (Department of Finance and Accounts), and miscommunication with external stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) as well as the National Assembly
Ehanire stated this during the Peer Learning sessions to disseminate lessons and achievements on the Federal Ministry of Health budget process reform in Abuja.

“Without mincing words, the efforts so far put into the Budget Process Reforms have started yielding good results which manifested in the quick preparation and submission of our 2021 Annual Budget to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for onward transmission to the National Assembly and eventual passage into law,” he said.

According to Ehanire, the budget reform was intiated to ensure that the meagre resources allocated to the health sector translate to improved health outcomes and demonstrate value for money.

Ehanire added that recommendations from the study on how to fill the identified gaps formed the basis for the budget process reforms, which include refined processes for development of strategic budgets that are linked to the health sector’s priorities, regular capacity building, and budget performance monitoring.

“These reforms commenced with the constitution of the Planning and Budget (P&B) Committee, a collaboration mechanism to address the disconnect between the DHPRS and DFA on budget matters, and to oversee the Planning Cells consisting of planning and budget desk officers across Federal Ministry of Health Departments, Agencies and Parastatals (DAPs) in the development of their respective Annual Operational Plans (AOPs) and Budgets,” he said.

Ehanire said the Planning and Budget Committee is supporting the Planning Cells to develop and submit timely and strategic health budgets through the institutionalisation of a yearly Annual Operational Plan (AOP) and Mock Budget development exercise ahead of the preparation of the National Budget.

On his part, Minister of state for Health, Senator Olorunmibe Mamora said the reform initiative has succeeded in making budget planning more strategic exercise in the ministry.

He said: “In order to consolidate on these achievements, and to ensure that annual budgeting is strategic and the process gets more cohesive across the components of the ministry, there is need to strengthen the Planning & Budget Committee responsible for driving the budget process of the Federal Ministry of Health.”