President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the State House Medical Centre (SHMC) revert to a clinic to serve the original purpose of its establishment.
Permanent Secretary in the State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, announced yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs for the 2019 budget defence.
“Without prejudice to what is currently obtainable at SHMC, the intention to revert to a clinic is a presidential directive. This is to make sure that the facility is functional and serves the purpose for which it was established, ab initio,” he was quoted in a statement by the deputy director (information), Mr. Attah Esa.
Arabi explained that the decision was a case of “cutting one’s coat according to your cloth.”
“It was initially meant to serve the first and second families and those working within and around the Villa.
“The overstretching of facilities at the medical centre by patients is some of the challenges the Centre has been going through. It wasn’t meant for that purpose.
“Nobody was charging anyone for any services and relying on appropriation means we will depend on subvention when it comes to run the Centre.
“Whatever comes is what you utilise and if the last patient comes in to take the last drugs based on the last budgetary release, that is it and we have to wait till another release is done.
“But this new development means that services will be streamlined to a clinic that will serve those that it was meant to serve when it was conceived,” the permanent secretary said.
The centre was a focal point during the 2-hour presentation and budget defence by the permanent secretary before the senate committee.
Arabi disclosed that the centre had a total budget of N1.03 bn in the 2018 appropriation, with N698 million as capital expenditure and N331.7 million as an overhead cost.
The total overhead expenditure released for the centre from January – December 2018 was N331.7m (99.9%), while the capital releases on projects are N231.9m (33.2%).
In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Danjuma La’ah (PDP – Kaduna) welcomed the proposal to make the SHMC fully functional and ensure that members of the first and second families use the facilities at the clinic.
Senator La’ah assured that committee will support full funding for the Clinic and commended the 2018 budget performance in State House, compared to previous years, despite revenue challenges.