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Budget defence: Reps C’ttee to visit centre for oral health, chides another

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The House of Representative Committee on Health Services has said it will pay a visit to the Inter-country Centre for Oral Health (ICOH) before approving its 2021 budget proposal.

Rep Simon Adejare, the Deputy Chairman of the committee who presided over the budget defence, said this on Tuesday in Abuja.

The committee also chided the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) for failing to break down its budget request, thereby prompting the committee to ask its National Coordinator to rework and submit it on Oct. 28.

Adejare said that the committee would not pass the ICOH budget until it visited the centre, adding that there must be enough commitment to show that there was enough justification to pass the centre’s 2021 budget.

Adejare questioned why ICOH’s revenue was grossly inadequate compared to its expenditure, adding that the committee must embark on an oversight visit before it would consider approval for its budget.

Dr Sani Balarabe, the Director-General (D-G) of the centre, said that it generated N10 million revenue in 2020, adding that its overhead cost was N12 million with 24 staff.

“Most of our budget are ongoing and they are mostly structure, we are expecting a large number of staff, we need to purchase vehicles, we have N4 million for electricity among others.

He said that the centre needed its budget to move up to accommodate 321 new staff.

He said that the centre was also planning to recruit as approved by the head of service of the federation.

He said the centre was not established for the purpose of generating revenue but to provide service for the citizenry, stressing that the N10 million revenue was due to the ingenuity of the former D-G.

Also, Dr OJ Amedu of NBTS said it had maintained its vision of providing safe, quality blood for all Nigerians, adding that NBTS currently has 17 centres across the country and most of them in sorry state.

According to him, the Maiduguri and Abeokuta centres, he visited recently, are in a sorry situation and need quick intervention to fix them.

He said that the NBTS had about 458 staff members across the country and had generated N130 million as IGR, adding that it hoped to surpass its current revenue in 2021.

Amedu said that there was the need for its activities to be properly guided, adding that failure to do that could result in trouble.

According to him, NBTS will generate revenue for the country when it invests in blood transfusion and will also provide employment for the people, so it needs a special intervention fund to do this.

The chairman of the committee, however, gave the coordinator time to break down his budget following some irreconcilable differences in his presentation.

“You have to go back, adjust your budget and see the chairman tomorrow with corrected version,” he said.

Femi Ogunshola

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