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Coalition lauds FG for proposing highest budget for health since 2015




A COALITION of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale), has lauded the President Muhammadu-led Federal Government for proposing the highest budget for the nation’s health sector since 2015.

In a statement mailed to The ICIR on Monday by Director PD and Communication, Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), Hassan Karofi, the coalition, through its national coordinator, Habib Sadauki, a doctor, said the dedication of 5.75 per cent of the 2023 proposed budget for health was a welcome development.

But the coalition also noted that the sum was still a far cry from the 15 per cent of national budgets that Heads of Government in Africa agreed to commit to their health systems.

The Federal Government had allocated N1.17 trillion for the sector in its 2023 budget proposal, representing 5.75 per cent of the total N20.5 trillion in the Appropriation Bill.

Sadauki, also the National President of the Society for Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, expressed delight with the January to December fiscal budgeting cycle of the government and challenged Buhari’s successor to adhere to the principle.

He described the allocation of N70 million for routine immunization as a welcome investment, adding that a 41 per cent increase for immunization, over the 2022 budget allocation, from N50 million in 2022 to N70 million in 2023 was a step in the right direction.

He urged the National Assembly not to reduce the health budget as it begins work on it for passage.

‘’As the NASS reviews and debates the health sector estimates for 2023, PAS CSOs are concerned that 5.75 per cent is still 9.25 per cent away from the 15 per cent promised in the Abuja Declaration signed by the Nigerian government. It is, therefore, our collective prayer to the NASS that the 5.75 per cent allocation to the health sector in the 2023 proposed budget must not be reduced, downsized, cut, or trimmed; if anything, it should be increased to approximate the 15 per cent Abuja Declaration.”

However, the coalition described the provision of N47.7 million to the basic healthcare provision fund in the proposed budget as inadequate.

‘’The 7 per cent increase in allocation to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in 2023 of N47,649,312 over the 2022 allocation of N44,564,737,089 is inadequate if the goal of UHC is to be achieved and should be increased,” it said.

The group also called on the National Assembly to ensure adequate provisions for human resources for health to address the health sector brain drain.

In a report analyzing Buhari’s six years in office in 2021, The ICIR showed how the Federal Government had a budget of N6.06 trillion in 2016, out of which it earmarked N550 billion for the health sector. The amount represented 4.1 per cent of the budget. The government allocated N221 billion and N28.6 billion as capital and recurrent expenditure, respectively.

In 2017, the total budget was N7.4 trillion. The health sector got N304.1 billion, representing 4.0 per cent. Capital allocation for the year was N51.3 billion, while recurrent expenditure gulped N252.8 billion.

2018 saw a further decline in the percentage of the health budget to the national budget. The total federal budget was N9.1 trillion that year, from which the sector got N356.4 billion. Recurrent expenditure was N269.9 billion, while the capital budget was N86.4 billion.

In 2020, the government reduced budget allocation to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund by more than 40 per cent, from N44.4 billion to N25.5 billion.

Out of the 2021 budget of 13.6 trillion, recurrent and capital of N380 billion and N134 billion, respectively, were allocated to the health sector, giving a total of N514 billion.

Author profile

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ mfatunmole@icirnigeria.org.

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