Islamic Bank: House Query FMH Over Disengagement of Contractor, alteration of Agreement

From Lateef Taiwo

The House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has queried the Federal Ministry of Health, FMH, over disengagement of a local contractor in a $100 million loan agreement between Nigeria and the Islamic Development Bank meant to address the challenges of malaria across the country.

The Chairman of the Committee, Amobi Ogah in a stakeholders meeting held yesterday at the National Assembly, Abuja expressed displeasure over inconsistency in words and actions by the Ministry of Health, lamenting that the intervention is becoming a failure even after signing the agreement in 2022.

Speaking during the event, the Minister of Health, Muhammad Pate explained that the total money given for the project is intact urging the committee not to place the contractor on oath.

The minister utrances did not go down well with most members of the committee who insisted that explanation must be given regarding why the initial agreement was altered without the knowledge of the lawmakers.

In his ruling, the Chairman of the Comitee after consultation with his colleagues urged the minister of Health to provide a comprehensive report of the transactions pertaining to the agreement to the committee within two weeks.

According to the lawmakers, the report from the ministry is expected to explain in detail why the local vendors approved for the agreement were disqualified and not given access to the job.

Amobi said the meeting was to resolve the logjam that seemed to have crippled the implementation of the Islamic Bank Loan to support malaria elimination in Nigeria under the Lives and Livelihood Project.

He said the project aims to reduce under-five mortality in Nigeria from 132 to 79 per 1,000 births by 2030.

“We are aware that Malaria continues to exert a huge burden on majority of Nigerians, with the greatest toll affecting children under 5 and pregnant women. Nigeria contributes 27% of the global malaria cases, (World Malaria Report, 2021) and 31% of global Malaria deaths. In view of this sad story every effort must be made to support any initiative that attempts to reduce or eliminate malaria burden in Nigeria.

At the meeting, the Speaker of the House,Hon Tajudeen Abbas was represented by the Leader of the House, Prof Julius Ihonvbare.

In his welcome address, Hon Abbas said: With the calibre of members of the committee, I have no doubt that whatever is causing the challenge would be resolved.

“We have a commitment to protect the local market and producers and encourage local production to prevent capital flight and encourage the development of skills and capacity to do better.

“We are shocked the matter has lasted this long. Many of us come from rural constituencies with poor access to medical services and we know now our people are suffering, so for an Mou to be signed and it has taken over four years is an embarrassment and hope we can resolve the matter and find the way forward,” he said


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