Health Minister Disowns Ministry's Budget Propasal
The controversy surrounding the 2016 budget continued yesterday as Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, informed the House committee on health that the original budget of his ministry had been largely distorted.
He said: “In the revised budget as re-submitted, N15.7 billion for capital allocation has been moved to other areas. Some allocations made are not in keeping with our priorities. There is nothing allocated to public health and family health. Over the last two years, nothing has been done on HIV
He claimed that strange figures were smuggled into the budget.
The minister's revelation might have reinforced the Senate's claim that the 2016 budget had been tampered with.
The minister urged the committee to discard the budget proposal before it and await a new estimate to be re-submitted today. He assured members of the committee that the new proposal would reflect the programmes of the health sector for the year.
Adewole's revelation forced Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, to convene a closed door session with the minister apparently to discuss the development.
The minister told the committee that there were some health issues on which conclusions had not been made by the ministry and yet allocations were made on them without the ministry's knowledge.
Adewole insisted that the provisions of the budget before the National Assembly was in contrast with the priorities of the health sector as contained in the original budget it prepared and submitted to the budget office.
He noted that some of the votes earmarked by the ministry for some activities had been re-distributed while some important areas in the sector had been excluded.
“We have to look into the details of the budget and re-submit it to the committee. This was not what we submitted. We'll submit another one. We don't want anything foreign to creep into that budget. What we submitted is not there. We have not reached that stage and we find the money there.”
The committee chairman noted that given the submission of the minister, the budget before the committee was not the proposal of the Health Ministry.
He added that it would be out of place to work on a budget that had already been disowned by the minister.
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