OrderPaperToday- The Senate has resolved to investigate the N400 billion trapped in abandoned National Primary Health Centre (NPHC) project across the country.
Worried by the number of NPHC projects abandoned over the years, this formed part of the resolutions by the Upper Chamber following a motion jointly sponsored by Senators Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central) and Sadiq Umar (APC, Kwara North).
Titled ‘Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Centre project,’ Senator Oloriegbe presented the motion at Wednesday’s plenary.
He informed the Senate that the NPHC was initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 to build in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country. It was designed to be 60-bed primary health centres complemented with three-bedroom flat, Doctors Quarters, an ambulance, and all basic hospital equipment and drugs.
To achieve this, he said, “the federal government deducted monies from the excess crude account of all the 774 local government areas on a monthly basis, warehoused the same with the then Platinum Habib Bank (now Keystone Bank) until the funds required for the actualisation of the project was realized.”
Senator Oloriegbe said the bill of quantities for the projects was prepared by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, and approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement.
He thus expressed surprise that despite all these, “the contract for the execution of the projects in the entire 774 local government areas, was awarded to Messrs Mattans Nig. Ltd without any known tendering and selection process.”
In his contribution, Senator Sadiq Umar noted that the recorded successes in health care delivery in the developed world are directly tied to the quality of primary health services.
“The key policy for primary health care in Nigeria is that every ward across the country must have a functional primary health care centre where people can access health care delivery to be able to take care of maternal mortality rates that we are concerned about and other related health issues,” Umar said.
For Senator Matthew Urhogide (PDP, Edo South), the merit of the NPHC project cannot be downplayed in view of its importance to health care delivery in Nigeria.
According to him, some representatives of companies who were awarded the contracts appeared before some of the Senate Committees to claim that they have not been paid for the execution of the project.
On the part of Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), the abandoned project was a “commitment to primary health gone wrong.”
The Upper Legislative Chamber, in its resolutions, mandated its Committees on Health, as well as Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases to probe the status of the 100 per cent project funding warehoused with the then Bank PHB; now Keystone Bank.
The committees were also asked to investigate the status of the projects in each of the 774 LGAs and carry out an evaluation of the contractors involved in the project.