In a move that in some way affirm the Senate’s claim that the 2016 budget had been tampered with, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole yesterday told members of the Senate Committee on Health that the original budget of his ministry was largely distorted.
Noting that strange figures were smuggled into the budget, the minister urged the committee to discard the budget proposal before it and await a new estimate to be re-submitted on Tuesday which would reflect the programmes of the health sector for the year.
The minister revealed that there were some health issues on which conclusions had not been made by the ministry and yet allocations were made on them without the ministry’s knowledge.
He insisted that the provisions of the budget before the National Assembly was in contrast with the priorities of the health sector as contained in the original budget it prepared and submitted to the budget office.
Adewole noted that some of the votes earmarked by the ministry for some activities had been re-distributed while some important areas in the sector had been excluded.
He said: “In the revised budget as re-submitted, N15.7 billion for capital allocation has been moved to other areas. Some allocations made are not in keeping with our priorities. There is nothing allocated to public health and family health. Over the last two years, nothing has been done on HIV.
“We have to look into the details of the budget and re-submit it to the committee. This was not what we submitted. We’ll submit another one. We don’t want anything foreign to creep into that budget. What we submitted is not there. We have not reached that stage and we find the money there.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho reasoned that given the submission of the minister, the budget before the committee was not the proposal of the Health Ministry.
He added that it would be out of place to work on a budget that had already been disowned by the minister.
According to him, “Honourable minister, we need to have an executive session. You said about this budget that public health is not there. Obviously, the budget we are looking at now is not your own.”
In his response, Adewole said: “Yes, it’s not. We’ll submit the revised document tomorrow (today). It will be an updated version of what you have.”