The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans has rejected the Federal Government’s proposal to obtain $200m loans for the purchase of treated mosquito nets.
SPY NIGERIA understands that the proposal which was presented before the senate by the Federal Ministry of Health was thrashed and described as unacceptable on Tuesday.
The Health Ministry had stated it requests under the Malaria Programme that the fund is needed for the purchase of mosquito nets for 13 vulnerable states.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mahmuda Mamman, who stood to justify the proposal before the panel claimed that 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.
Responding to his submission, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe and other senators present at the plenary slammed the Permanent Secretary and the Executive Secretary, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib.
The lawmakers said it’s a wonder that ₦450m was budgeted for Malaria treatment in the proposed 2022 budget and yet, plans are being made to borrow $200m for the same purpose.
Oloriegbe cautioned the ministry, saying that it should be able to put its feet down when dealing with donor agencies or creditors as regards loans to be taken and what it should be expended on.
He said: “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 others, also blamed the Ministry for coming up with such an idea.
The ₦450m already budgeted for fighting the scourge in the alleged vulnerable areas, according to them, was enough.
Again, the senators furiously demanded the permanent Secretary to explain how the idea was arrived at and how it will be implemented.
Responding to their request, the Permanent Secretary noted that a subsidiary arrangement had been made with all the states involved through the required signing of the agreement.
In his further clarification, the Executive Director, National Primary Heal Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib noted that the $200m was for importation and local production of mosquito nets.
The panel however demanded the total needs of the agency to ascertain if there was a need for borrowing.