Reps demand report of $100m Islamic Bank malaria loan from Health Minister

Elizabeth AtimeMay 23, 20244 min

Reps tackle Health Minister over $100m Islamic Bank loan to address malaria saying the Minister must submit the report to the committee within two weeks.

The House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has directed the Minister of Health, Prof Ali Muhammad Pate, to make available a comprehensive report of the $100 million loan agreement between Nigeria and the Islamic Development Bank meant to address the challenge of malaria in the country.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Amobi Ogah (LP, Abia) in a stakeholders meeting to address the matter was displeased that the success that was expected through the intervention was yet to materialise even after signing the agreement in 2022 insisting that the Minister must submit the report to the committee within two weeks adding that the report is expected to explain in detail why the local vendors approved for the agreement were disqualified and not given access to the job.

Ogah said the meeting was to resolve the logjam that seemed to have crippled the implementation of the Islamic Bank Loan to support malaria elimination in Nigeria under the Lives and Livelihood Project aimed at reducing under-five mortality in Nigeria from 132 to 79 per 1,000 births by 2030. 

We are aware that Malaria continues to exert a huge burden on the majority of Nigerians, with the greatest toll affecting children under 5 and pregnant women. Nigeria contributes 27% of the global malaria cases, (World Malaria Report, 2021) and 31% of global Malaria deaths. Given this sad story, every effort must be made to support any initiative that attempts to reduce or eliminate the malaria burden in Nigeria. 

“However we are at a loss as to the reason why the Loan agreement between Nigeria and the Islamic Bank which is expected to last for 3 years, and is terminating by the end of this year, has suffered a monumental setback and we as the Parliament, representing the people of Nigeria who are affected and ravaged daily by malaria epidemic cannot fold our hands and watch matters degenerate so badly, hence our intervention in this matter.

“The Committee on ATM under my leadership has set a clear vision that it will no longer be business as usual, that Nigeria and Nigerians should be the focus of Government policies and programs. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers and, in this case, we know the grass; the grass is Nigerians ravaged and battered by malaria and the opportunity to receive succour through the intervention of the Islamic Bank loan is yet to materialise after the signing of the agreement in 2022. We, however, don’t know whether the Elephants fighting here are the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Or is it the Local Manufacturers of Insecticidal Nets? Or is it UNOPS?

While the Committee is eager to hear from all the parties involved in this saga, we will make it categorically clear that as a Parliament we will not tolerate any entity that will toy with the lives of our people, we must think locally and grow our local capacity to ensure that malaria is eradicated from our Country. 

“There is nowhere in the world that sovereign laws of a State are not respected and obeyed and the Parliament will guard jealously the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it relates to Executive Orders and no entity or non-state actors should go contrary to these Laws.

“We must put our House in order if we must win the fight against malaria, we cannot continue to pursue shadows and keep running in cycles while leaving out the substance and our people are worse for it. We must say enough is enough and be genuinely ready to do something meaningful for Nigeria and Nigerians. Therefore this contractual logjam must be resolved today one way or the other,” he said.

Elizabeth Atime

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