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N17bn Required For 2016 Census, Says NPC

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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As Nigeria loses N200bn annually to medical tourism BEVERLY HILLS, March 06, (THEWILL) -  The chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Mr.

Eze Duru-Iheoma, Thursday disclosed that the sum of N17 billion would be needed by the Commission for the conduct of the 2006 census.

Duru-Iheoma disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Population for the 2014 budget defence.

He said the money would be used for the purposes of creating additional registration centres, which would gulp about N5 billion and construction of ICT centres across the 36 states estimated to cost N5.

7 billion.
"Our states' offices are on rent.
We need to develop them and have them fully equipped with ICT.

We suggested N5.
7 billion for this.
We have the mandate of 2016, and we don't intend to postpone it even by one day," he said.

He said however that only the sum of N203 million was allocated for that purpose by the Budget Office.

He requested the sum of N34.
566 billion, out of which N17 billion of it was meant for 2016 head count.

But he said only N6.
2 billion was approved by the budget office for the commission as 2014 budget.

"With all the things we need, the N203 million given will not even scratch them on the face," he said as he appealed to the committee to intervene in the matter.

On the N75 million budgeted for construction of the commission's state offices last year and in 2012, the chairman explained that because the N75 million would not be enough to expend on one state office, the management decided to spend it across offices in the states by constructing perimeter fences.

He said the decision was hinged on the fact that the commission was given plots of lands in some states and saw the need to secure them before they were revoked.

He told the lawmakers that out of the N1.
5 billion approved for capital projects in the 2013 budget, only N834 million was released, representing 55.

65 percent, while the recurrent had 99 percent implementation, with N374 million released.

Responding, acting chairman of the committee Hon.
Abdulrazaq Nuhu Zaki (PDP, Bauchi) promised to ensure that funds were appropriated but demanded to know what the commission was doing to complete the building of its head office in Abuja.

Duru-Iheoma responded that it was the commission's desire to see to it that the head office was completed before 2016 census as they would not want to organise such an important assignment in a temporary structure.

"You need to come to our office and see how things are.

Directors are in cubicles, while national commissioners don't even have offices.

We appeal to you to intervene on this so that we can have it completed before the census," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, NARD, has said that Nigeria loses an estimated N200 billion to foreign medical trips annually.

President of the association, Dr.
Jibril Abdullahi, disclosed this yesterday when he led a delegation on a courtesy call to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon.

Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
He expressed the fear that if the trend is not checked, it might increase and lead to a colossal wastage of a large chunk of annual budget.

The president said in order to avoid further wastage, a framework that would encourage Nigerian doctors working abroad to come and set up centres of excellence should be pursued vigorously.

He explained that this would pave way for establishing an India-type of revolution in healthcare delivery and make medical tourism a source of foreign exchange to the country.

Abdullahi expressed satisfaction on the passage of the National Health Bill by the Senate and called on the House to see to the quick passage of the bill.

He noted that healthcare establishment in Nigeria has been enmeshed in a series of internal crisis based on needless competition for superiority amongst various categories of health workers, resulting to avoidable disruption of services to Nigerians.

The president also pointed out that the universal health coverage for citizens was not only a goal for every government, but a fundamental right of the citizens.

In his response, Tambuwal assured the association that the House would always assist the body in terms of proper funding and legislation.

Represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Ishaka Bawa, Tambuwal called on the association to always avail itself the opportunity to contribute effectively when there is public hearing on health and health related matters.

SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA