The development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) under the Partnership for Advocacy on Child and Family Health (dRPC-PAS), a coalition of 23 Nigerian civil society organizations Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prioritize budgetary increases, ensure timely releases and full utilization of budgetary allocations for capital expenditure of the health sector in Nigeria.
“We [dRPC-PAS] observed that over the last decade the utilization of capital expenditure in the health sector has been poor, making it difficult for the country to achieve the objectives of such budgetary allocations. For example, in 2018, the capital allocation of the health sector was N141.62 billion. However, the amount released was N21.62 billion, a mere 15.3% of the total capital expenditure for the sector. More disturbing was that of the amount released: out of N21.62 billion naira only N13.35 billion – a meager 9.4% was utilized,” said a press statement signed by the coalition`s spokesperson, Dr. Habib Sadauki.
According to the coalition, the non-release and subsequent return to the treasury of public funds meant for the health sector had become a trend in recent years. “In 2012 alone, the total capital allocation to the health sector was N60.92 billion, out of which only N45 billion was spent. About N11.32 billion had to be returned to the treasury at the end of 2012. However, from 2009 to 2018, the story has not changed because the country`s budget lifecycle did not allow for proper utilization of budgetary allocations in the sector,” said the coalition.
The statement noted that although the Federal Government of Nigeria was a signatory to the 2001 Abuja Declaration in which the country pledged to commit at least, 15% of its annual budget to public health, no federal regime has achieved more than 6% allocation to public health since 2001.
“We are all aware of the negative consequences of underfunding the health sector: doctors, nurses and community health workers (CHEWS) with no equipment and medical supplies to work get frustrated and look overseas for better working conditions and greener pastures. We therefore, call on the lawmakers to ensure early passage of an adequately funded health sector line within the annual budget and to discharge their constitutional responsibility of effective supervision of health sector budget implementation,” said the coalition.
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