Rep seeks review of N46b proposed for health in 2020 budget

9th House of Representatives

A member of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions, Henry Nwawuba, has advocated an upward review of the N46 billion budgeted for health in the 2020 Appropriation Bill by at least 15 per cent, as required by international standard.

Nwawuba, who represents Mbaitoli and Ikeduru Federal Constituency, stated this at the weekend during a South East region retreat for members of the House committees on Health and Appropriations, organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Owerri, Imo State.

He specifically sought an increase of 15 per cent or more for committees on Health and Appropriation in the 2020 budget proposal, as presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday.

While commending CISLAC and it’s Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa for the effort, he admitted that the President’s proposal was not enough, stressing that a lot of legislative work would be done to increase it and adequately accommodate primary healthcare sector.

“We want a representative budget. We are looking at increasing the 2020 budget proposal on health to the global index of about 15 per cent. We think we are not where we should be in terms of funding the nation’s health sector. There is a long way to go in terms of putting the country’s health sector in the right place.

“The amount earmarked for health in the 2020 budget proposal is N46 billion. It is now for the legislators to review it and provide a standard on where we want to go. We don’t want people to start talking about budget padding.

“It is a constitutional requirement for parliament to ensure that a budget is representative and reflective of what we want to achieve in line with global best practice. We need to have a trickle-down effect,” he stated.

He also urged CISLAC to extend the interactive advocacy to members of the state Houses of Assembly and commissioners for health.

Speaking, Musa, who was represented by Director Legal, Adesina Oke, said the engagement with the lawmakers was necessary in view of the need for Nigerians to assess healthcare services.

He noted that their oversight visits to Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Nasarawa, and Kaduna states, showed that a lot needed to be done by improving funding of the health sector.

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