The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has called for an increase in funding from one per cent to three per cent for the provision of basic healthcare in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, made the call at a high-level forum on the SDG panel discussion on "Universal Coverage and Basic Health Fund" on the sidelines of the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit.
Tambuwal said that increased funding would ensure more Nigerians had access to healthcare services and would reduce the out-of-pocket burden for healthcare services.
“On financing, we have defended in this interactive session that, since the basic health provision fund law says that at least one percent must be allocated annually.
“We can trust that provision that says at least go up to two or three percent,” he said.
He pointed out that inadequate financing and human resources, as well as insecurity were the downfall for the effective implementation of the Basic Primary Health Care Fund (BPHC) in the country.
“That's another solution to funding constraints and then private sector participation in funding and all of the partners that are in health care should possibly provide some funding to the primary health care projects that we're doing. in all our states.
“Insecurity demands collective efforts as the federal government and states are doing everything they can to ensure we stem the tide, so it is an ongoing effort.
“We have to work hard to improve the packaging and well-being of our medical staff, both in the federal and state governments, so that we can stop the brain drain problem and challenge in Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking about the proposed state tax financing for health, Tambuwal assured that the issue will be brought up at the next meeting of the Economic Council for deliberation and possible outcomes.
“We will present it at the next meeting of the economic council that the president will preside over, where the minister will attend and all the state governors are expected to attend.
“And once we have the consensus from the governors and the NEC, we believe it will go into effect,” he said.
For her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said that a framework had been designed to monitor and ensure accountability in the disbursement and utilization of HMOs from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). ).
“In order to isolate the Fund for Basic Medical Care, we have taken steps to place them in the front line category, which means that, on a constant basis, one percent was accumulated from the federal account to that fund.
“We want to make sure that what is provided is used and used correctly.
“For our part, we have committed to ensuring increased funding for the health sector, not only for the fund, but also for the public health sector in general.
“In the 2023 budget, the total aggregate budget for the Health sector is 8 percent,” he said.
In addition, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, Director and Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight Committee (MOC), BHCPF, highlighted the need to block leaks and institutionalize accountability, as well as increase contributory funding for the BHCPF to 25 percent.
Isokpunwu revealed that according to available statistics, one trillion naira was needed annually to effectively cover basic health care for Nigerians.
“There are at least 86 million to 100 million Nigerians as each of our recipients will pay 12,000 naira per year for now.
“So if we have 86 million people on board at N12,000, that's about a trillion naira including operating cost and all of that per year, because the premium will pay for each of our recipients for one year.
“So every year we have to pay for those beneficiaries until they get out of poverty. The whole essence of this is to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of Nigerians,” he said.
On counter-financing, Isokpunwu added that “states must demonstrate in their budgets that they have released an amount equal to 25 percent of what we have disbursed to them for primary health care and social health insurance services.
“Any state that has met that condition will appear to have met it and qualified for additional spending,” he said.
==============Edited /Sadiya Hamza
Source Credit: NAN
As the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is set to meet today, student leaders across the country have warned of dire consequences that would follow if the union embarks on a fresh strike.The decision of ASUU to declare an emergency meeting is due to the October 2022 salary cut received by members of the union, few weeks after suspending the prolonged industrial action.The emergency meeting, according to findings, is to decide whether to embark on another strike or not.A member of the union who does not want his name mentioned because he is not authorized to speak said, “I can confirm that, ASUU NEC will meet on Monday, November 7, to take a decision on strike or not. This is an aftermath of half-salary paid by the Nigerian government.”Recall that ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on strike over previous agreements yet to be implemented by the government.The minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, after what he described as “failed negotiations” dragged the striking lecturers before the National Industrial Court.The court, on September 21, ordered ASUU to call off the strike and resume duty with immediate effect.ASUU had appealed the judgement but the Appeal Court also handed down a similar order, asking the striking lecturers to resume academic activities as declared in the earlier judgement and the strike was finally suspended on October 14, 2022.However, during the strike, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government vowed to sustain its No work, No-pay policy in a bid to force the union back to class.Meanwhile, following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, it was reported that the FG had agreed to set the policy aside and pay the arrears.However, earlier last week, lecturers were paid half salaries for October, a development that may lead to another industrial crisis between the FG and the union. The minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige claimed the half pay was a pro-rata.But some students’ leaders in the country have expressed worry over the continued crisis in the nation’s tertiary institutions, which is shattering the future of students.In an interview with LEADERSHIP, the national president, Nigerian Association of Science Student (NASS), Agbatemiro Raphael Akintomide said the 8-month strike had already shattered the dreams of many students and a fresh strike would have dire consequence on the country.He said the Nigerian students will never accept any delay or any further ASUU strike to come on board again, while urging the government to stop going into agreements it cannot fulfil.“First, the eight months strike is something I wasn’t happy about. I have been part of the system and I was not happy at all and during that period, I was able to issue out statements and press releases, I was able to mobilise some of my students to protest and ensure that the ASUU strike was called off, even before now.“But it is so alarming that a country of ours that has a government that even the vice president is a professor and yet we can’t solve our educational crisis. It is something that is alarming and is condemnable by every student.“And the most annoying part is that we are hearing recently that they are about to embark on another strike and I’m using this medium to tell the public and the entire Nigerian students that we can’t take it, we can’t allow it.“Destinies have been delayed, destinies have been shattered. We have lost so many members during the strikes, many of our girls were impregnated during the strike, a lot of activities have taken place that shattered and battered the destinies of Nigerian students.“So, we won’t allow such to happen again and I want to call on the federal government, His Excellency, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari that he should please do everything possible and even the red chamber, the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, they should do everything possible to ensure that they secure the destinies of Nigerian youths.“I remember history told us that in their own time they passed through this system free of charge, as a matter of fact, they were fed and paid. Now we are paying for it and they are depriving us. Is something that we can’t accept any longer. It has to stop.”
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners(NUP) has advised its members to vote credible candidates who will prioritise the welfare of pensioners in the country in the forthcoming general elections.
Mazi Godwin Abumisi, the National President of NUP,gave the advice at the opening of its National Executive Council meeting on Thursday in Jos. Abumisi, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for being pensioner- friendly, said members must vote someone that would continue in that regard.
”Our President has proven to be a pensioner-friendly president and as he prepares to leave office in 2023, we are duty-bound to elect a successor who will ensure our interests,as pensioners, are adequately catered for and protected.
”This is why we invited to this occasion, all the leading presidential candidates to come and and address this gathering as regards their plans for pensioners’ welfare and the nation in general.
”So, it is very important and instructive that Nigerian pensioners will choose leaders that will treat us as human beings and not spare tyres or parasites”, he said.
Abumisi explained that the choice of ”Pensioners Fate in the Unfolding Political Events in Nigeria ” as theme of the meeting, was deliberate, to capture the yearnings of pensioners and Nigerians in general.
Declaring the meeting open, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, represented by Mr Sunday Hyat, Head of Civil Service (HoS) of the state, thanked NUP for the choice of the state for its 2022 NEC meeting.
”The decision to host this event in Plateau is a demonstration of your confidence in the efforts of this goverment toward restoring lasting peace to the state”,he said.
Lalong explained that his administration had prioritised regular pension payments to beneficiaries, adding that the payments were up-to-date.
”We inherited over eight months pension arrears when we came on board in 2015, but today we have cleared everything.
”We have placed high premium on the welfare of our senior citizens; payment of pension is a frontline charge and we will not renege on that,” Lalong added.
In a brief goodwill message, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the Presidential Candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) promised to prioritise the the welfare of pensioners if elected in 2023. Kwankwaso, who was represented by Pastor Alfred Dabwan, the governorship candidate of the party in Plateau, also promised to address all challenges being faced by pensioners in the state.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has appointed Alhaji Salisu Lawal-Uli as the new acting Chairman of the party in Katsina State.
This is contained in a letter written by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), dated Oct. 26, 2022, and signed by Alhaji Umar Bature, the National Organising Secretary.
Alhaji Lawal-Uli distributed copies of the letter to newsmen on Wednesday in Katsina.
“Following the election of the Katsina State Chairman, Alhaji Salisu Majigiri as the House of Representative candidate of our party the NWC on behalf of the NEC, has approved your appointment as the Ag. Chairman in Katsina State.
“While congratulating you on your new appointment, let me also encourage you to always practice constitutional democracy as detailed in the Constitution of our party.
“Kindly forward your acceptance letter and while wishing you a productive tenure, please accept the highest assurances of the NWC’s highest regards,’’ the letter read.
According to the letter, Alhaji Lawal-Uli will function in acting Alhaji Majigiri is PDP’s candidate for the House of Representatives seat to represent Constituency.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Majigiri has been the chairman of the party in the state for the past seven years, while Lawal-Uli has been his deputy.
Majigiri earlier resigned as chairman in May to contest for the PDP governorship ticket which he lost to Sen. Yakubu Lado-Danmarke, but later returned as the party’s chairman.
NAN also reports that the letter was copied to INEC Chairman, the Commissioner of Police in Katsina State, and the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) said it expects the Federal Government to pay salary arrears for the four months their industrial action lasted.
Mr Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary of NASU, said this while addressing a news conference at the union ongoing National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.
Adeyemi said that NEC expects the federal government to make arrangements for payment of the salary arrears.
According to NASU, since all parties within the University system have suspended their industrial actions, it behooves on government to start reviewing those hard stance it took while the tertiary institutions were under lock and key.
“A moratorium was given to the federal government which will elapses by November 2022. “This should serve as a veritable opportunity for government to sit down and begin to address the existing demands by the unions, one of which is the salary arrears, ’’he said.
Adeyemi also said that under no circumstance would the government sweep the issue under the carpet, especially when the government obliged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) similar gesture after they suspended their two months strike.
He also added that, I have confidence as a union person that those salaries will be paid, because it has been paid to the guys in the health sector which was for two months.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment also facilitated the payment and he is still there, I am confident he will facilitate this payment, ’’he said.
Earlier, Dr Hassan Makolo, National President of NASU also said that the decision to embark on strike does not come easy for unionists.
He added that trade unions do not just embark on strike to play to the gallery, contrary to the erroneous belief of the public.
According to him, this is because it is done at great cost to their members and the unions.
“Those who think it is easy to go on a strike should think of staying for four, five or more months without a salary or an income.
“Think of what that does to the household of a breadwinner who is taking part in a strike without a salary, in terms of feeding, medicals, transportation, children school fees, aged parents and other relations to cater for, as well as the landlord.
“Moreover, most of the children in public universities and other tertiary institutions are our children.
“Whereas the children of our employers and other government functionaries who are expected to resolve the grievances of unions in the public sector are either studying in universities abroad or are in private universities here at home, ’’he said.
He also noted that on the part of the union, the management of the affairs of the union continues, including the management of the strike without ‘ check-off dues.
He said that the actions and inactions of public officials foisted a needless strike on members of NASU in the Universities and Inter-University Centres.
He therefore said that the strike would not have started in the first place, if they did what was expected of them.
Hassan also said that the era of strikes would only be mitigated effectively if collective bargaining in the educational and allied institutions sectors are institutionalised.
He added that this was one of the demands they put before the Federal Government, which members of the Federal Government Renegotiating Team rejected.
He went further to state that government teams should always come to the collective bargaining table with fidelity, including implementing agreements it freely entered into with NASU.
“Over two months after the Agreement signed by the Federal Government with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, that resulted in the suspension of the four months old strike.
“We have observed that the processes expected to be put in place for the actualisation of the content of the Agreement are yet to be put in place.
“We therefore use the opportunity of the ongoing NEC meeting to call on the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.
“He is to ensure that the processes for the implementation of the Agreement commence immediately before the members of NASU will start another round of agitation,’’he said.
He also added that, we hope that some other industrial relations issues within the sector which the government is aware of will be amicably resolved within a minimum time frame.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo people, has denied media reports that Mr Livinus Obasi has been elected its new National Youth Leader.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Alex Ogbonnia, made the denial in an interaction with newsmen in Owerri, on Monday.
Ogbonnia said that although the Organisation’s erstwhile Youth Leader, Mr Damian Okafor, was suspended, the National Executive Council (NEC), led by its President-General, Prof. George Obiozor, was still working hard to settle the issues that led to his suspension.
Ogbonnia, a former Chairman of the Organisation in Enugu, called on the general public not to be misguided by “deceitful media reports of a purported bye-election” to replace the suspended Youth Leader, adding that such reports were the handiwork of mischief makers.
“It is true that Okafor was suspended, but the NEC is working assiduously to resolve the issues, and when we do, the public will be duly informed.
“The NEC is not aware of any bye-election to replace Okafor.
The said election lacks credibility; is not known to us, and was neither approved nor supervised by us.
We therefore refuse to recognise Obasi as youth leader “, he said.
Speaking, Secretary of Ohanaeze Youth Wing in Rivers, Mr Chika Onuoha, denied being part of the election and advised the Organisation’s youths to desist from acts capable of causing disunity among its members.
He restated his support for the Obiozor-led NEC, adding that anything to the contrary would amount to insubordination and unruly behaviour.
“Those of us in Rivers will not work against the NEC because in Prof. Obiozor, we have a leader of high repute.
“We were not part of the said election that produced Obasi and we will exhaust all legal channels as we vehemently oppose moves to parade him as the new National Youth Leader,” he said.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has advised parents to guard their children against involvement in any act of thuggery, especially before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of its meeting in Ilorin, signed by its National Secretary, Helen Udofa, which was made available to newsmen on Saturday in Ibadan.
The NAWOJ NEC meeting was Presided over by its National President, Mrs Ladi Bala, with the theme: “The Electoral Process: Safety and Responsibilities of Journalists”.
It also called on registered voters to endeavour to collect their PVCs, so that they could exercise their franchise in the forthcoming general elections.
NAWOJ also urged those states that were yet to domesticate the VAPP Law to do so to checkmate indecent dressing, while states that have domesticated the Law should ensure its full implementation.
“NEC in session expressed worries over deplorable state of the roads across the country, and called on governments at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, rehabilitate roads in their domains so as to put them in good condition for safety of the users,” the communique stated.
It also called on government to ensure the resuscitation of rail transport to reduce the pressure on the roads.
The NEC, however, called on the Federal Government to put in place measures that would help cushion the effects of high cost of living in the country.
The association, while urging members to encourage and support one another, it passionately appealed to them to take care of their mental health due to the peculiar nature of the Journalism profession.
Dr Saudah Sallah-Abdulbaqi has charged journalists on accuracy, inclusiveness and balanced reporting during the electioneering period.
Sallah-Abdulbaqi gave the task in her presentation on “the electoral process; safety and responsibilities of journalists” on Thursday in Ilorin.
He spoke at the opening ceremony of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ).
She said that journalists were at the centre of everything that happens during elections and are exposed to so many risks and harassment.
The don charged journalists to enlighten the world that voting is a civic right, adding that the use of uncivil languages and behaviours should be discouraged in the profession.
Sallah-Abdulbaqi said to reduce risks while covering elections, journalists must study and understand the election safety manual and familiarise themselves with the locals and environments.
“Be knowledgeable about the discourse of interviews, ensure that guests do not use hate speeches, negative campaign words.
“Guide against attack on minorities, be conscious of gender, culture and avoid stereotypes.
“Do not go to conflict heated areas alone, go with the company of security personnel to avoid being harassed,” she advised.
She however urged journalists to serve the citizens in order to promote peace and tranquility.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairperson of NAWOJ in Kwara, Madam Ayobola Ipinlaiye, appreciated the guests and delegates, saying it is a privilege to host the NEC meeting in Kwara.
Ipinlaiye also thanked the state government for being gender sensitive and also for always supporting women programmes in the state.
The state Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Lanre Ahmed, said that the theme of the event was apt and timely.
Ahmed said: “I am glad women journalists have taken it upon themselves to enlighten the public on the need to have free, fair, credible and secure election”.
The National President of the association, Mrs Ladi Bala, said the choice of Kwara as a meeting point was because the state is one of the most peaceful in the country.
Bala described Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as a great leader who is working to improve the media houses and NUJ in the state.
She said it is a clarion call on media organisations to see it as their role to create a credible democratic process.
“Journalists are critical stakeholders, women need to understand their role in electoral process and play our part.
“We often step on toes in the discharge of our duties and there are resultant clashes and our security is at stake “Maintain neutrality in the discharge of your duties, never bring your opinion into your work,” she counselled.
The NAWOJ president also advised journalists to beware of overzealousness in the discharge of their duties.
She enjoined them to adhere to the ethics of the profession, saying ‘we must be alive to tell stories’.
The Head, Voter Registration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Adamu Musa, appreciated the media for always supporting the commission’s activities.
Musa emphasised that eligible voters should not only register but obtain their voter cards, saying ‘no PVC, no vote’.
He assured the public that their votes would count in the coming elections.
He said that plans were underway to train journalists on election reporting, adding that journalists will be accr
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kebbi State chapter, has appealed for understanding and support of residents of the state towards hosting a successful National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union scheduled for the state.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Publicity Committee Chairman, Malam Tasi’u Lawal, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
Lawal said the call became imperative in view of the fact that unity, support and encouragement of all members was critical to the success of the programme.
According to him, the union’s NEC meeting is scheduled to hold on Oct. 24, in Birnin Kebbi.
He assured that the meeting was expected to bring sanity to the challenges being faced by civil servants and other industrial unions across the country.
“The arrival day will be on Oct. 22 and 23, 2022, while the opening ceremony will take place on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, at Safar Guests Palace Hotel, Birnin Kebbi,” he said.
The chairman noted with satisfaction that all the NLC chairmen and affiliated union presidents and chairmen from the 36 states of the federation as well as other stakeholders were expected to attend the meeting.
He said many important issues would be discussed, especially those that involved the economy of the country as well as strike by civil servants which remained a serious issue in the country.
This, he said, would be discussed with a view to averting future recurrences.
The National Economic Council (NEC) says it will engage the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on recovery of CBN loans to states.
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi State briefed State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Umahi said NEC meeting also featured memorandum for consideration and endorsement of the reviewed National Social Protection Policy ( NSPP) by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
“Council was invited to note the revised NSPP that replaces the 2017-2022 NSPP, which was reviewed in consultation with all states and other stakeholders.
“It is subject to review every five years for updates and accommodation of some of the emerging issues, which include pandemics, insecurity, and responsive social protection.
“The expected benefits of the revised NSPP include reduction of multi-dimensional poverty; promotion of social justice and equity and inclusive growth, reduction of unemployment, social and economic vulnerabilities and other threats to sustainable development.
’’ He said that the council endorsed the presentation and the prayer of the minister.
Umahi said the revised NSPP would be transmitted to the Federal Executive Council for its own endorsement after which it would go to the National Assembly.
The governor said that NEC approved a review of the plan for immediate deduction of funds from state by the CBN.
“The governors are saying with the constant reduction in FAAC allocation to states, it would be very suicidal if the CBN goes ahead to carry out their proposed recovery of state loans.
“ The governors and NEC applauded the president, the vice president, Minister of Finance and the CBN governor for their efforts and commitment to states while noting that a lot of funds that were hidden from the states before the present administration have also been graciously given to states by the president and his team.
“ That has helped the states very much, so while commending them, NEC agreed to engage the CBN governor with the Minister of Finance and the governors forum and the NEC committee.
“ So, it was agreed that these deductions would have to be reviewed to seek other ways; that if it goes ahead, the states would suffocate and that would not be good for the nation; NEC agreed to set up a committee to engage the CBN governor and the finance minister.
’’ On flooding, Umahi said the menace was extensively discussed and NEC offered condolences to those who had lost their lives and sympathy to the families and to the suffering Nigerians.
According to him, the flooding is due to climate change as the council will work towards forestalling future occurrence.
“NEC is commending the president, having met with some governors with regard to this flooding issue.
“ So, NEC agreed to set up a committee to look at the immediate solutions and interventions over the flooding and to see how we take care of those who were affected and states too.
“And also to proffer long-term solutions in line with what the Minister of Water Resources is doing together with the action plan of the president in this regard,’’ he said.