By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
A group, National Advocates for Health (NAH) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to increase funding for the health sector by submitting a supplementary health budget to the National Assembly in order to raise its percentage to at least 7.5% this year and in subsequent years raise the budget by 1% point increase.
The group in a statement made available to journalists in Kaduna by one of it’s member, Iliya Kure, also asked the president to direct his Minister of Finance to release the N55.15 billion earmarked for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and when commencing 2019 budgetary process to ensure it is captured as a statutory transfer. increase health budget and ensures timely releases in 2018.
The group also committed to track the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (HUWE) using an accountability framework.
According to the statement, after a one day Symposium on “framing for advocacy and accountability for effective implementation of 2018 National Health Budget, Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and Global Financing Facility (GFF), chaired by Professor Dapo Ladipo on Tuesday 10th July 2018 in Abuja, came up with the following resolutions;
“The 2018 approved budget is about N9.12 trillion out of that N356 billion is earmarked for health which represents 3.9%. When compared to the 2017 health budget, which was an aggregate sum of N308.464 billion being 4.15% of the 2017 approved budget; the Federal Government commitment to the 2001 Abuja declaration of allocating at least 15% of total national budget to health is declining rather than improving.
“The 2018 approved budget has earmarked in the health capital expenditure the sum of N55.15b to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), while this is commendable , however we notice that it is not captured as a statutory transfer as provided by section 11 of the National Health Act, 2014.
“Funds in the statutory transfers are always prioritized as they are not largely affected by scarcity of funds. Not committing the BHCPF as statutory, means if there is any paucity of funds within the year, it will suffer severe budget cuts and poor implementation as the section 28 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act has empower the Minister of Finance on budgetary matters as follows “Where, by the end of three months, after the enactment of the Appropriation Act, the Minister determines that the targeted revenues may be insufficient to fund the heads of expenditure in the Appropriation Act, the Minister shall, within the next 30 days of such determination, take appropriate measures to restrict further commitments and financial operations according to the criteria set-in the Fiscal Risk Appendix ——- such provisions shall not apply to Statutory or constitutional expenditure.”