NMA Condemns President Jonathan’s 2013 Budgetary Allocation of 6.04% Health
Allocation to the Health sector in President Jonathan’s newly announced budget, and called on the National Assembly to review it upwards.
In a press statement signed by its President, Comrade Osahon Enabulele, the NMA described the proposal by the executive arm of the government as “paltry,” and shows that the government is non-responsive to the pace called for by the citizens if Nigeria is to meet the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
The NMA applauded the inclusion of tax reliefs in the new budget plan, but faulted the exclusion of the Health sector in the relief tax plan, stressing that inclusion would reduce the cost of healthcare services in the country.
“At a time when Nigerians expect more investment in the Health sector to accelerate the pace to meet up with the 2015 target date for actualization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Association is surprised that the Nigerian government seems not to be in tune with this great expectation of Nigerians and the global community”, NMA said.
It recalled that in 2001, the Nigerian Government pledged along with other African countries to devote a minimum of 15% of their national budgets to health, and that the NMA had on several occasions similarly requested the Federal Government to give more funds to the Health sector as well as to utilize allocations effectively.
“The 6.04% sectorial Allocation to Health flies in the face of the Abuja 2001 declaration of African Heads of State to devote a minimum of 15% of their national budget to health,” he said.
“Certainly, the Allocation of N279.23 billion to Health which is about 41.9% of the annual estimate needed to finance Nigeria’s National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) cannot achieve the desired Health dividends of democracy,” the NMA warned.
It underlined that adequate investment in Health is especially critical to Nigeria’s quest to reverse brain drain, improve her Health indices and engender a productive economy driven by healthy citizens, adding that there is overwhelming evidence that the success stories of most of the developed countries are attributable to their significant investments and commitment to health.
The group cited Djibouti and Rwanda as examples of countries poorer than Nigeria which have shown serious commitment to Health by devoting 15% of their national budgets to the sector in compliance with the 2001 declaration.
“If less endowed countries like Djibouti and Rwanda can devote overn15% of their national budgets to Health in compliance with the 2001 Abuja declaration of African Heads of State, to which Nigeria is a signatory, we see no reason why Nigeria cannot devote much more,” the association said.
The Medical Association called on the National Assembly to review the 2013 budget Allocation on health. It also asked that the Allocation be released as early as possible.
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