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$200m loan for mosquito nets unacceptable- Senate tells FG

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The Senate on Tuesday opposed the Federal Ministry of Health’s proposal to borrow $200m for the purchase of  mosquito nets in the 2022 budget.

The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans criticized the Ministry of Health’s submission about its intention to borrow $200m under the Malaria Programme for the purchase of mosquito nets for 13 vulnerable states.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mahmuda Mamman had justified the proposal before the panel, saying, “The loan , if approved by the National Assembly and accessed , will be used to medically fight malaria in the 13 orphan states which covers 208 local government Councils and 3, 536 primary health care centres”.

However, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe and some other senators admonished the Permanent Secretary and the Executive Secretary, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr.Faisal Shuaib, for submitting such proposal.

Oloriegbe wondered why N450m was budgeted for Malaria treatment in the  proposed 2022 budget and yet, plans are being made to borrow $200m for the same purpose.

Read also: 2022 budget: Lawan concerned with budget funding, amid high debt rate.

He said, “This is unacceptable . We should be able to put our feet down when dealing with these donor agencies or creditors  as regards loans to be taken and what it should be expended on.”

“ Don’t we have local manufacturers of mosquitoes nets and malaria drugs in Nigeria to patronise with the loan even if approved .

“ This is a clear case of money and jobs for the boys by creditors luring you for loans and railroading you on what it should be spent on .

“ Washington or whatever creditor offering the loan , should stop giving us money with one hand and taking it back with another hand through railroaded spending”, he said.

Other members of the committee like Senators Adelere Oriolowo ( APC Osun West), Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and other, also blamed the Ministry for coming up with such idea .

According to them, the N450m already budgeted for fighting the scourge in the alleged vulnerable areas was enough .

They angrily asked the permanent Secretary to explain how the idea was arrived at and how it will be implemented .

The Permanent Secretary in his response said subsidiary arrangement had been made with all the states involved through required signing of agreement .

In his further clarification, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib noted that the $200m was for importation and local production of mosquito nets.

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

 

Read original article on The Punch.


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