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Budget: Citizens allocated N524 monthly for healthcare

ORDINARY Nigerians may continue to bear the brunt with respect to medication as each citizen has been allocated the paltry sum of 524 naira for healthcare, a review of the Nigerian 2024 budget has shown.

In January, President Bola Tinubu approved N28.78 trillion as fiscal appropriation for 2024 of which N1.34 trillion was allocated to the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, representing 4.64 per cent of the budget.

When broken down, the ministry has a personnel expenditure of N771.56 billion,  N121.76 billion for overhead, and N542.95 billion for capital expenditure.

The ICIR analysed the health budget on per capita expenditure across the current population in Nigeria, which stands at N212.47 million according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) projection.

By implication, if the health budget is shared with all Nigerians, each person will be entitled to N6,288.97 for 2024.

When divided by the 12 months in a year, it amounts to N524.

In the real term, the general public only benefits from capital expenditure, as the overhead and recurrent allocations are for running offices and salary payments to a small portion of the population.

A review of Nigeria’s health budgets

Over the years, Nigeria has struggled to provide good health for its citizens, as funding for the sector has often been much lower than expected.

In 2001, the African Union (AU) member states met in the nation’s capital, Abuja, and agreed to devote 15 per cent of their yearly budgets to health. 

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The objective was to use the augmented budget in the respective countries to bridge the gaps in health funding, thereby drastically reducing unfavourable health data on the continent.

The ICIR sifted through the Nigeria budget in the last four years and observed that the allocations for the health sector have persistently hovered around four per cent of the nation’s budget. 

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YearHealth budgetTotal budget
Per centage difference

Table showing the proportion of health in Nigeria’s budget

In 2023, the allocation to healthcare was N1.17 trillion, representing 4.91 of the total 421.8 trillion naira budget. Also in 2022 with a total expenditure of N17.14 trillion, only 4.23 per cent of the total budget was allocated to health, while in 2021, the sector got 4.05 per cent of the budget. 

A report shows how Nigeria has failed to fulfil its pledge since it signed the agreement to allocate 15 percent of its budget to the sector.

The development is coming despite the President’s promise to increase allocation to the sector. 

Nigeria’s growing health challenges

Some health challenges the country confronts, as at various times reported by The ICIR, include having the second-lowest life expectancy rate worldwide, female genitile mutilation, parading some of the world’s largest cases of malaria,  tuberculosis, malnutrition, and Lassa fever, among others.

Health challenges have been made worse in Nigeria by citizens paying out-of-pocket for their treatments.



    The ICIR reported that the minister of health and social welfare, Muhammad Pate, said that over 90 per cent of Nigerians were not enrolled in the Nationl Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as of 2024.

    “The financing of healthcare in Nigeria and affordability has been a longstanding issue for more than 40 years. Less than 10 per cent of Nigerians have no health insurance or any insurance to speak of, which means most of them are paying out-of-pocket,” Pate said.

    The Center for Social Justice (CSJ), proposed attracting non-budgetary funds through private sector incentives and tapping into other public resources, such as constituency project funds, to increase the sector’s funding.

    This report looks at the national budget only and it’s part of the ICIR budget series, read other reports here.


    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

    Fidelis Mac-Leva has worked with several media outfits in Nigeria, including DAILY TIMES and DAILY TRUST. A compellingly readable Features writer, his forte is Public Interest Journalism which enables him to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted..."

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