• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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N15bn budget allocation for National Assembly hospital insensitive— Obi

N15bn budget allocation for National Assembly hospital insensitive— Obi

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, on Tuesday, berated the National Assembly for allocating N15bn in the 2024 budget for its hospital amid lean government revenue.

Obi, who had in his previous remarks called for a total review of the budget, insisted there were misplacement of priorities in the national budget.

Obi also kicked against a budgetary allocation of N15.3 billion for the National Assembly library project and procurement of books, including the e-library, describing it as ‘disappointing’, especially when the country itself does not a national library.

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Obi wondered why the National Assembly hospital should have N15bn in one year, an amount that is five times more than that of the National Hospital and six other teaching hospitals in the country.

Writing on his X handle on Tuesday, the former Anambra State governor said, ‘I will remain persistent in my expressions of deep concern about the 2024 budget because of its critical importance to the lives of the citizens, especially the poor in our midst. I will continue to do so until the end of the year as a matter of patriotic engagement. This is because the many negatives of the budget have far-reaching implications for the development of our dear nation and the well-being of our citizens.

“It is evident that there are items in the budget that do not align with our current circumstances, and it is imperative to call for a review and appropriate virement. Allocating our scarce resources to high-priority areas of need is essential for the well-being of the nation.

“For instance, allocating N15 billion solely for the National Assembly hospital is unacceptable, especially when it exceeds five times the budgetary allocation to The National Hospital or the combined capital vote of our six major teaching hospitals across the nation.

These universities include the University College Hospital, Ibadan; University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu; Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife; Jos University Teaching Hospital and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. This disparity reflects a low level of care for the rest of society.

Obi said while the National Assembly was busy allocating humongous money for its library, the National Library which has been under construction for the past 20 years, received paltry budgetary allocation of less than N1bn, which makes the National Assembly Library budget 15 times more.

“Again the National Assembly Library budget is more than the combined budget of the top national universities’ libraries that desperately need the libraries for research, teaching and learning purposes.

“Furthermore, allocating N10 billion for the Senate’s and House of Representatives’ car parks and the National Assembly Recreation Centre, while allocating less to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, is concerning. In an era where science, technology and innovation are crucial for the nation’s future, such allocations demonstrate a lack of foresight and basic awareness of global trends and urgent national priorities.

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“This level of insensitivity to the present situation and challenges faced by the people should not be tolerated by any development-minded nation.

“Every scarce resource must be directed towards productive sectors of the economy. It is time for our nation to reassess its priorities, revisit the budget, eliminate frivolous expenditures and channel our resources properly for the benefit of the people.

“No great nation is built on a foundation of waste and frivolity,” he said.