Senate faults FG proposal to borrow $200m for mosquito nets

The senate committee on local and foreign loans has faulted plans by the federal government to borrow $200m to  procure treated mosquito nets.

The proposal, which was presented before the senate by the Federal Ministry of Health, was described as unacceptable on Tuesday.

The Ministry’s permanent secretary, Mahmuda Mamman, who defended the proposal before the panel, claimed the loan will be used to medically fight malaria in 13 vulnerable states, covering 208 local government councils and 3,536 primary health care centres that have no access to malaria treatment.

Explaining how the ministry arrived at the amount and how it will be implemented, Mamman said a subsidiary arrangement has been made with all the states involved through the required signing of an agreement.

In his contribution, the executive director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the $200m is for importation and local production of mosquito nets.

Responding to their submission, the Senate Committee faulted and described the proposal as unacceptable.

The chairman of the senate committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, questioned  the idea to borrow the $200 million to fight malaria despite the N450 million budgeted for the same purpose in the proposed 2022 budget.

Oloriegbe, who decried the plan to import mosquito nets when there are local producers, said: “This is a clear case of money and jobs for the boys. What you give with the right hand, you take it back with the left.

“This is unacceptable. 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.

“We should as a country produce what we use for our people. If someone wants to give us money and put conditions that you must buy from their manufacturers, you can say no for our sovereignty.”

Other members of the committee also faulted the Ministry’s proposal, adding that the  ₦450 million already budgeted for fighting the scourge in these vulnerable areas is enough.

The panel demanded for the total needs of the agency to ascertain if there is a need to borrow.

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