The Federal Government will continue to prioritise health expenditures in spite of the dwindling revenue, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said on Tuesday.
Udoma made the assertion at a workshop on the Nigeria Value for Money in the Health Sector in Abuja.
The minister also said that the government was working to improve the country’s mortality rate, which was among the lowest in the continent.
According to him, the constrained fiscal space occasioned by a drop in oil price and disruption to crude production continues to reflect on revenues.
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“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.
“Though it recovered somewhat to N7.17 trillion and N9.17 trillion in 2017 and 2018, it is still low compared to the amount in 2014,” he said.
Udoma also said that dwindling donor funding had further compounded the matters with the country transition from the status of a poor country to a developing economy.
He said that notwithstanding the government’s tight revenue inflow, there was a need to increase expenditure in the health sector.
The minister said that governments at all levels need to come together to maximise value for allocation to the sector.
Also, Mr Ben Akabueze, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, said that the Federal Government had earmarked the sum of N43.5 billion for routine immunisation programmes in 2019.
Akabueze said that there was a need for upscale allocation to the primary healthcare, calling for equity in the allocation of funds to different areas in the sector.
The director-general explained that because Nigeria was operating a deficit budget, it had become very difficult for it to further borrow to fund projects in the health sector.
According to him, this has placed a limitation on how much we can borrow.
Akabueze said, to turn the tide around, the country must seek ways to attract other sources of funding, especially private investments to the health sector. (NAN)