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Senate frowns at Nigerian govt’s proposal to borrow N200m to buy mosquito nets

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The Senate, on Tuesday, questioned a plan by the Federal Government to solicit a $200 million loan for the purchase of mosquito nets in 13 out of the 36 states of the federation.

Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Loans led by the Chairman, Senator Clifford Ordia, were angered by the request proposed by the Ministry of Health.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, had stated before the Committee that the FG was planning to borrow $200 million to purchase mosquito nets and other ancillary medical therapies to prevent malaria.

According to Mamman, the loan would be used to medically fight malaria in 13 states which cover 208 local government Councils and 3,536 primary health care centres.

In response, a member of the Committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe queried the Permanent Secretary and the Executive Secretary of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib on the rationale behind the huge loan proposal.

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Senator Ordia also wondered why N450 million was budgeted for malaria treatment in the proposed 2022 budget and yet, plans were being made to borrow $200 million for the same purpose

He said: “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.

“Don’t we have local manufacturers of mosquito 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”.

The N450million already budgeted for fighting malaria in the reported vulnerable areas was enough, the Committee decided.

Consequently, the Committee asked the Permanent Secretary to explain how the idea was arrived at and how it would be implemented.

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