Senate faults independent conversion of COVID-19 panel
Seeks federal medical centre in Adamawa
The Senate Committee on Health has faulted the executive arm of government for converting the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to a steering committee without allegedly consulting with the National Assembly.
Its chairman, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, made the displeasure yesterday at the public hearing of the “Federal Medical Centre, Mubi, Adamawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2021” sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani).
He complained that the National Assembly consults more frequently than the Federal Government. His words: “For example, I was listening to the radio yesterday (Wednesday) when I heard that the PTF on COVID-19 has been converted to a steering committee. We were not consulted in terms of what will be the operational mechanism and so on. I am just trying to say I will ask my Clerk to invite you to come and explain to us the process of that response, because we represent Nigeria.
“What is the content of that conversion? How will the steering committee work?”
The panel chairman was reacting to a comment by the reprsenttive of the minister and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, who had contested that the bill sponsor should have consulted the executive before floating the piece of legislation.
Presenting the position of the ministry, he stated: “At the Ministry of Health, we are not averse to creation of additional health institutions across the country.
“We have made our position clear and I don’t want to go over this memorandum because of time. But, I want to assure you, the sponsor of the bill, that you have our support within the rules and regulations in the establishment of these federal tertiary institutions.
The minister added: “So our comprehensive position and stand of the ministry have been made to the secretariat.” Also speaking, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, noted: “We need medical facilities. The desire of government is to provide medical facilities. We should all work to widen medical healthcare for our people.”
Earlier, the sponsor said the establishment of the Federal Medical Centre in Mubi would not cost government much since the existing General Hospital had the requirements and could be upgraded to an FMC.
She said: “A number of reasons justifies the wisdom of the Federal Government in providing both teaching hospital and FMC in some particular states of the federation.
“We strongly believe that the peculiar circumstances of Adamawa State both in terms of distance, population, accessibility and history justify the establishment of both tertiary health care facilities in the state,” maintaining that Mubi provides the ideal location for the FMC.
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