The Secretary General to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has bemoaned the poor state of the Nigerian healthcare infrastructure.
Speaking at a meeting with national assembly leaders on Thursday April 9, Boss Mustapha said he only realized that Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure was in a bad state after being made the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.
“I can tell you for sure, I never knew that our entire healthcare infrastructure was in the state in which it is. Until I was appointed to do this work.”
Boss Mustapha stated that they now have plans of laying a legacy foundation for the immediate, medium and long-term development of the health system, following the emergence of Coronavirus in the country.
The SGF revealed that the pandemic has provided the opportunity to examine the state of the national health care systems which is in dire need of reforms and funding, as he also pointed that the more established health systems in Europe and America collapsed under pressure after being struck by the virus.
Boss also urged the legislature to deepen its oversight function by coming up with legislation that will make it easier for the executive to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the citizenry. On transparency and accountability, he said the task force would not be directly involved in the collection and disbursement of cash donations for COVID-19.
He further said;
“The Accountant General of the Federation has already published the account details for collection through some commercial banks and also provided the modalities for its utilisation.
“All the main COVID-19 accounts shall be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). However, all non-cash donations shall be duly received by the PTF, acknowledged, documented and appropriately deployed.”
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan who hailed members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for their efforts in the management of the outbreak of the virus in the country, asked for a better coordination of the donations received from public-spirited individuals, corporate bodies and institutions to avoid duplication or working at cross purposes.
“I believe that we face one critical challenge today in our fight against COVID-19. We have donations made by various organisations, corporate bodies and so on but it is my candid opinion that there is no coordination. The Corporate Nigeria, as I was told as at yesterday (Wednesday), has gathered N22 billion, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), I was told had $28 million, CBN and the banks, I don’t know how much they have. The National Assembly, the ministers and so many individuals and institutions have also made donations.
“I believe we must have a central body and not the PTF nor the corporate groups should receive and manage the funds but based on what the constitution provides for.
“Where everybody is just collecting and spending, I think it will lead us in a very bad shape. When people contribute their funds, they want to see such funds properly utilised. They want to see efficiency. They want to see transparency. They want to see accountability and of course, probity in what the funds are used for.
“There could be duplication, working at cross purposes. At the end of the day, there will certainly be inefficiency in the application of such resources. But this meeting is going to give us the opportunity to discuss this and the way forward.”
According to him, the essence of the meeting is for the leaders of the National Assembly to engage with the PTF in order to understand clearly what the task force has been doing.
“But let me also, say that this is a partnership. As you work from that side of government, we are to work with you from this side and it will take the two arms, particularly the executive and legislature, to implement the kind of efforts to manage and control the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“So I want to commend you for the work you have been doing. I want to also take this opportunity to commend the Nigerian medical personnel. They have been doing quite a lot and of course commend Nigerians for showing understanding and supporting the government in its effort to manage and control the coronavirus.”