The federal health ministry, its departments and agencies as well as the ministries of finance, budget and economic planning yesterday shunned a roundtable to launch a scorecard assessing performance of the 2016 health budget.
They did not show up and none sent in any representation.
The only representation of government at the launch was the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services Mohammed Usman.
“Government officials have developed this habit of not attending when certain presentations, decisions, suggestions and recommendations are made which will really go to help everybody,” he told Daily Trust.
The scorecard published by MamaYe-Evidence for Action for the second straight year used red, green and amber of traffic light to rate the health budget on transparency, participation, adequate allocation and release.
Only FMOH’s publishing the enacted 2016 budget on its website earned a green, but all other measures of transparency were in the red: the annual National Health Account for 2016 isn’t published yet; the last account detailing budgetary spending was for 2014.
In addition the budget did not stick to fiscal calendar. And release of capital budget, even though complete, did not meet time for key agencies as the National Health Insurance Scheme, the FMOH and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
“Budget is a cycle, but we treat it as an event,” said Hussaini Abdu, country director for Plan International Nigeria, who led discussion on the scorecard.
Dr Tunde Segun, country director for MamaYe-Evidence for Action, said the government delegation ahead of the launch looked at areas of the scorecard it could improve on but asked that civil society groups continue advocate for more resource for the health sector.