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Senate panel queries FG’s request to borrow $200m to curb spread of malaria in 13 states

Senate panel queries FG’s request to borrow $200m to curb spread of malaria in 13 states
October 27
12:43 2021

The senate committee on local and foreign debts has expressed worry over the decision of the federal government to borrow $200 million for the purchase of mosquito nets and other commodities to prevent malaria in the country.

The panel expressed its worry on Tuesday when Mahmuda Mamman, permanent secretary of the ministry of health, appeared before the committee in Abuja.

There has been concern over the country’s rising debt.

In September, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said Nigeria’s total public debt (federal and state governments) rose to N35.46 trillion at the end of the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.

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Justifying the request, the permanent secretary said the facility will be used to procure mosquito nets in 13 states in the country.

Mamman told the panel that many children under five years old have died because of malaria in these 13 states he did not disclose.

Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the $200 million would be used to procure the nets from abroad.

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Shuaib said part of the sum will be used for the local production of mosquito nets.

Speaking on the issue, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, a member of panel and chairman of the committee on health, said the request is unacceptable.

The senator said N450 million has already been budgeted to tackle malaria in the country.

“This is unacceptable,” the senator representing Kwara central said.

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“We should be able to put our feet down when dealing with these donor agencies or creditors as regards loans to be taken and what it should be expended on.

“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.”

Thereafter, the panel asked the health ministry to provide the necessary documents detailing the request.

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