National Assembly Moves To Establish 74 New Hospitals Amid Poor Funding

Bills for the establishment of 74 new federal health institutions are at various stages at the National Assembly, despite poor funding of the existing ones, Daily Trust can report.

This is coming at a time the health ministry, which runs federal health centres, is getting meager budgetary allocation that is far below the African standard for the health sector.

Some analysts have described the penchant by legislators to sponsor bills for various projects without clearly studying implications of such moves, apart from scoring cheap political goals, as not only a misplacement of priority but a betrayal of trust and plunder of resources.  

Experts were also divided over the procedure being followed by the lawmakers for the establishment of institutions including those in the health sector. While some suggested that the lawmakers should have merged the 74 bills into one, others, however, described it as normal and reflective of global parliamentary procedure.  

Mohammed Al-Amin, a political scientist who wants the 74 bills merged, argued that “this upside-down law-making process that we are practicing is wrong. This is not what is obtainable in other countries. These hospitals are necessary but the process of actualizing them is faulty, cumbersome, and encourages wastage. It should be done at once through one bill to reduce cost and waste of resources.”  

But an expert at the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), who is in support of the procedure being used by the parliament, said for the institutions to operate as legal entities, there must be separate bills for each of the proposed hospitals.

“It is a normal parliamentary procedure and the constitutional provision that each institution be established through a bill for it to operate as a legal entity which can sue and be sued.

“If you establish all the 74 hospitals through a bill, if one of them is sued, the remaining 73 will be liable. This is the rationale for having separate laws for each government establishment,” he said.

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