Tony Obiechina, ABUJA
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma on Tuesday assured that despite dwindling revenue, the federal government will continue to prioritise health expenditures.
The Minister who gave the assurance at the ‘Nigeria Value for Money in the Health Sector’ workshop in Abuja also said the government is working to improve the country’s mortality rate which is among the lowest in the continent.
According to the Minister, the constrained fiscal space occasioned by drop in oil price and disruption to crude production continues to reflect on revenues.
“The present administration came to meet a very constrained fiscal space. Revenue dropped from N10.07 trillion in 2014 fiscal year to as low as N5.68 trillion in 2016. Even though it recovered somewhat to N7.17 trillion and N9.17 trillion in 2019 and 2018, it is still low compared to the amount in 2014,” he said.
Udoma also said that dwindling donor funding has further compounded the matters with the country transition from the status of a poor country to a developing economy.
He noted that notwithstanding the government’s tight revenue inflow, there is need to increase expenditure in the health sector added that it is collaborating with governments at all levels to on the need to maximize value for allocation to the sector.
In his presentation on Reprioritizing Health in the National Budget, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation Mr Ben Akabueze disclosed that the federal government has earmarked the sum of N43.5 billion for children immunization in 2019.
The DG budget said there was a need to upscale allocation to primary health care just as he called for equity in the allocation of funds to different areas in the sector.
Mr. Akabueze explained that because Nigeria was operating a deficit budget it has become very difficult for the country to further borrow to fund projects in the health sector, adding that this has placed a limitation on how much the country can borrow.