Anger in Senate over health ministry’s plan to borrow $200m to buy mosquito nets in 2022

The Senate yesterday strongly condemned the proposal by the Federal Ministry of Health to borrow $200 million under the Malaria programme to buy mosquito nets in the 2022 Budget.

A member of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gershom Bassey made the condemnation during the 2022 budget defence of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Bassey pointedly told the Permanent Secretary, Mahmuda Mamman that the proposal with respect to the purchase of mosquito nets was a big issue, expressing concerns that borrowing $200 million was outrageous.

The Committee’s condemnation was in response to the Permanent Secretary’s earlier submission of the intention to borrow the amount for the purchase of mosquito nets.

The panel further demanded the total needs of the agency to ascertain if there was a need for borrowing.

In his further clarification, the Executive Director, National Primary Heal Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shu’aib noted that the $200 million was for importation and local production of mosquito nets.

The Committee Chairman on Health, Sen. Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, in his reaction explained that said the idea of borrowing money from World Bank is “money and job for the boys” by somebody in Washington DC, adding that its consultancy services provided at the lower level of State and local governments.

The Senate panel further expressed anger at the humongous amount of money spent on Covid-19, which initially the sum of $100 million was requested under the 2018 and 2020 external borrowing plan, the documents of which were submitted by the former D-G, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC).

The new NCDC Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, who was at the budget defence on his second day in office had a tough time defending it, yet lawmakers weren’t satisfied.

After rejecting the budget, Senator Gershom Bassey directed the Health team to go back and put things in order and report back before Friday.

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