The Nigeria Ministry of Health has come under fire over its plan to borrow $200million in 2020 to buy mosquito nets under its Malaria Programme.
The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans queried the Ministry of Health for its plans to borrow funds for mosquito nets procurement for 13 vulnerable states.
Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe faulted the duplication of expenses for malaria eradication projects, saying another N450million was budgeted for Malaria treatment in the proposed 2022 budget.
The senators also queried the Executive Secretary, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib.
Oloriegbe said, “This is unacceptable. We should be able to put our feet down when dealing with these donor agencies or creditors as regards loans to be taken and what it should be expended on.”
“Don’t we have local manufacturers of mosquitoes nets and malaria drugs in Nigeria to patronise with the loan even if approved?
“This is a clear case of money and jobs for the boys by creditors luring you for loans and railroading you on what it should be spent on.
“Washington or whatever creditor offering the loan, should stop giving us money with one hand and taking it back with another hand through railroaded spending, “ he said.
Other members of the committee like Senators Adelere Oriolowo ( APC Osun West), Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and other, also blamed the Ministry for coming up with such idea .
The lawmakers said the N450million already budgeted for fighting malaria in the vulnerable states was sufficient.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mahmuda Mamman, however, justified the proposal before the panel.
He said, “The loan, if approved by the National Assembly and accessed, will be used to medically fight malaria in the 13 orphan states which cover 208 local government Councils and 3, 536 primary health care centres “
The Executive Director, National Primary Heal Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, noted that the $200million will be used for the importation and local production of mosquito nets.
The panel, however, demanded for the total needs of the agency to ascertain if there was a need for borrowing.