The House Leader said the disbursement of the basic healthcare provision fund has been fraught with irregularities, including delayed transfer of funds, poor data management, and corruption.
The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Health to commence full implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and ensure that all the stakeholders play their respective roles to ensure a successful disbursement and utilisation of the funds.
It also mandated the Committee on Healthcare Services to investigate the hindrances to full implementation of the Fund since inception to ensure that all bottlenecks to its successful implementation are effectively tackled and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions are sequel to a motion sponsored by the House Leader, Rep. Julius Ihonvebere (APC, EDO) and Rep. Prince Henry Okojie (APC, Edo).
The motion is titled, “Need to Investigate the Non-Implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).”
Leading debate on the motion, Rep. Ihonvebere noted that the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) was established in the National Health Act to extend Primary Health Care (PHC) to all Nigerians by substantially increasing the level of financial resources to PHC services.
He also noted that the BHCPF is funded by the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund and supplemented by grants from local and international donors, partners, the private sector, philanthropic organisations, and funds generated from innovative sources such as taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.
The Leader further explained that the Act provides that half of the fund will be used to provide a basic package of services in PHC facilities through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) while 45% will be disbursed by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for essential drugs, maintaining PHC facilities, equipment and transportation, and strengthening human resource capacity.
According to him, the final 5% will be used by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to respond to health emergencies and epidemics, adding that since the establishment of the National Health Act in 2014, only about N128 billion has been released from the Federation Account.
“The disbursement of the fund to States was withheld because most of them failed to contribute the 25% counterpart funding towards Primary Health Care (PHC) projects, which is the criteria that makes them eligible for fund donations, neither did they give a proper account of the funds released to them.”
He further expressed worry that the disbursement of the fund to the three tiers of government has been fraught with irregularities, including delayed transfer of funds, poor data management, corruption, and the lack of preparedness of Local Government Health Authorities to manage the Fund.
“The fund is structured in such a way that, if properly implemented, it would take a lot of stress out of healthcare endeavors in the country.
“Also the need to commence full implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund(BHCPF) and devise strategies to ensure accountability between the stakeholders at different levels of government”, he submitted.
The motion was unanimously adopted when the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu put the question.