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Business News of Thursday, 26 January 2023


Subsidies to cost N10.3 trillion - Nasir El-Rufai

Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor

Nigeria plans to spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy for six months, N4 trillion to subsidise the naira and N300 billion to subsidise electricity in 2023, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said.

El-Rufai said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has not remitted anything to the Federation Account since the last quarter of 2021, forcing the country to depend mainly on import duties and taxes as revenue allocation shared by the three tiers of government.

He lamented that the dwindling revenue had forced states to re-prioritise their spending and cut their expenses.

Addressing the 12th Kaduna State Council on Health Meeting yesterday at the Murtala Mohammed Square in Kaduna, El-Rufai said his government is working hard to achieve its goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to the people, but this cannot be done without cash backing, adding that state is managing by depending on the little amount that comes from the federation account and it’s internally generated revenue.

“Our goal is to achieve universal health coverage for all residents. We hope to complete the 300-bed specialist hospital in Millennium City in the second quarter with a Nuclear Medicine Centre to help tackle the menace of cancer and serve as a source of medical tourism. A second cancer center is being built in the vicinity of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna. We have built a 136-bed infection center in Mando and we are building 10 to 30-bed isolation center in our general hospitals in preparation for the next infectious disease outbreak.

“We have to make choices as a country and as a people and stop being hypocritical. Since the last quarter of 2021, the NNPC has not remitted a dime to the federation account because they are paying subsidy.

We have depended only on import duties and taxes. This year, the Federal Government will spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy, which is a quarter of the budget. This is more than the entire budget of states and local governments on health this year.

“We spent N300 billion per annum to subsidise electricity which we hardly get. We are subsidising 50 per cent of electricity supply. We have exchange rate of N400 to a dollar but if you want to buy dollar across the road at Hamdala Hotel, it costs N700. Some people would buy at N400 and sell at N700, costing us about N4 trillion per annum, that is one sixth of the entire budget, which is more than the entire budget of education.

“We cannot carry out projects without cash backing but what is our source of income? Federal allocation and internally generated revenue. There are twomillion people in Kaduna that are employed and 100,000 of them are civil servants. If we ask them to pay N10,000 per month each or N100,000 per annum we raise N200 billion as internally generated revenue, which is more than our capital budget fir this year. We have to talk to ourselves. When we came in we have less than 150 doctors in the health system across the state, but today we have double of that figure.”

The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Amina Baloni, said the Kaduna State Council on Health has over the years come up with health policies that have proffered solutions to the challenges facing the health sector in the state. She said the state has been able to reduce neonatal death from 63 to 47 per 1,000 and maternal mortality from 187 to 127 per 1,000.

She said the state has recruited 1,225 health workers for its primary healthcare and 1,202 health workers for its secondary healthcare centers, “400 staff were recently replaced, 259 nurses and midwives are to be posted to the general hospitals.”