Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt is stunned over a request brought before it, by the Health ministry, for approval to borrow $200 million to purchase mosquito nets under Its Malaria Programme in the 2022 budget.
Piqued by the proposal, a member of the committee, Senator Gershom Bassey, told Mahmuda Mamman, permanent secretary of the ministry, that the proposed expenditure was untenable.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, in trying to clarify, told the committee that the $200 million was sought in compliance with the mandate of the World Bank to procure mosquito nets through importation and specific local manufacturers.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who is also a member of the Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, dismissed the request as a misplaced priority.
Oloriegbe took exception to a situation where the World Bank would be dictating when Nigeria should be buying mosquito nets and from it must buy them.
“They can’t lend us money and still dictate where to buy the mosquito nets. This can be sourced locally,” he said.
Oloriegbe demanded for all documents related to $200 million loan from World Bank for the malaria medicine and mosquito nets.
The committee also dismissed a $100 million external borrowing plan presented to it by Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, departing director-general, NCDC – Nigeria Centre for Disease Control – to contain Coronavirus.