The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has urged President Bola Tinubu to allocate at least 15 per cent of the 2024 annual budget to the health sector.
The President of NARD, Dr Dele Abdullahi, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday while decrying the exclusion of the health sector from the 2023 supplementary budget.
This was even as the Joint Health Sector Unions said the health sector was too important to be neglected in the supplementary budget.
NARD and JOHESU said it was unfortunate that the health sector was excluded from the supplementary budget despite its poor state.
The National Assembly last Monday approved a N2.18tn supplementary budget for the 2023 fiscal year.
The FG said the supplementary budget was to fund urgent issues, including defence and security as well as the provision of welfare packages for workers and poor Nigerians to cushion the biting effects of petrol subsidy removal.
Tinubu sustains culture of profligacy
While decrying the exclusion of the health sector from the supplementary budget, the NARD president said, “It is sad and unfortunate that the health sector was not included in the supplementary budget. The health sector is in shambles and a lot of things need to be done about the sector but it was considered in the budget.
“There are other things that need to be addressed in the health sector. I hope the government will make the 2024 budget for the health sector very reasonable because since 2001 when the Abuja Declaration was made, Nigeria has never met that target.
“I hope the government will allocate at least 15 per cent of the 2024 budget to the health sector in the 2024 budget. The Abuja Declaration commitment requires the nation to ensure that 15 per cent of its annual budgetary allocation goes to health.”
Also, the Acting Chairman of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, said since health is wealth, the health sector should not have been neglected in the supplementary budget.
“I looked through the budget and I didn’t see anything that has to do with health. Meanwhile, there are issues like the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, and the Consolidated Health Salary Structure, and workers’ welfare to deal with.
“I want to assume it’s an oversight that the health sector was not included and we will take it up with them so that they can see the need to include the health sector in the budget.”
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