By Tony Akowe, Abuja
House of Representatives on Wednesday accused the federal government of striping the Federal Ministry of Health of its procurement powers, thereby hampering the efforts at addressing the spread of Lassa fever and corona virus in the country.
The House asks the federal government to immediately restore the procurement power of the ministry which it said was transferee to the Ministry of Agriculture since the last quarter of 2019.
Adopting a motion on the serious Impediments in the Concerted and Rapid Response Efforts by the Federal Government to Contain and Deal with the Grievous Threats of Lassa Fever and Coronavirus sponsored by
Rep Shehu Balarabe Kakale, Tanko Sonunu and Babatunde Adejare, the House also resolved to investigate the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Health on the reasons for their violation of the Procurement Act.
It said that the Ministry of Agriculture should concentrate on its mandate of zoonotic disease control, animal, public health and veterinary services as well as the in the all-important collaborative effort with relevant MDAs to contain these highly infectious and other diseases.
It also directs all relevant MDAs to redouble efforts and support the Federal Government in protecting the precious lives of Nigerians in the face of these unprecedented Health challenges.
Rep. Shehu Balarabe who presented the motion on behalf of the sponsors had informed the House that the Federal Ministry of Health’s inability to procure equipment, protective personnel gadgets and other laboratory and logistical equipment/services, reagents and drugs is seriously hampering the efforts of the federal government to fight and contain the coronavirus and Lassa fever epidemics.
According to him, the Federal government has proactively provided or released huge sums of money amounting to about N386m for this massive effort and expressed concerned that even basic protective equipment like face masks, thermal scanners and gloves are rapidly depleted and going out of stock in the ministry.
He said all procurement issues of one mandated ministry are going to another ministry which is an outright violation of the Procurement act and therefore illegal.
He also argued that it was worrisome that the Federal government has stripped the Ministry of Health of its Procurement powers and transferred same to the ministry of Agriculture since the last quarter of last 2019, adding that this scenario seriously causes inefficiency, delays and corrupt practices in the system putting millions of Nigerian lives and the economy in grievous danger.
Meanwhile Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila informed members that the House has set aside March 12 as a special say to debate the issue of out of school children in the country which he said was a major issue that require urgent attention of the House.