Governor Nasir El- Rufa’i of Kaduna State said yesterday that Nigeria planned to spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy for six months, N4 trillion to subsidize the naira and N300 billion to subsidise electricity in 2023.
The governor, who spoke during the 12th Kaduna State Council on Health Meeting in Kaduna, said the N6 trillion on fuel subsidy, which was a quarter of the budget, was more than the entire budget of states and local governments on health this year.
According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL has not remitted anything to the federation account since the last quarter of 2021, adding this had forced Nigeria to depend mainly on import duties and taxes as revenue allocation shared by the three tiers of government.
He said the dwindling revenue had forced states to re-prioritize their spending and cut expenses.
Governor el-Rufai explained that the Kaduna State government “is working hard to achieve it’s goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to the people, but this cannot be done without cash backing.” He said the state was managing by depending on the little amount that came from the federation account and its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
“Our goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage for all residents. We hope to complete the 300-bed specialist hospital in Millennium City in the second quarter with a Nuclear Medicine Centre to help tackle the menace of cancer and serve as a source of medical tourism.
“ A second cancer centre is being built in the vicinity of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna. We have built a 136-bed infection centre in Mando and we are building 10 to 30-bed isolation centres in all our general hospitals in preparation for the next infectious disease outbreak.
“We have to make choices as a country and as a people and stop being hypocritical. Since the last quarter of 2021, the NNPCL has not remitted a dime to the federation account because they are paying a subsidy. We have depended only on import duties and taxes.
“This year, the Federal Government will spend N6 trillion on fuel subsidy, which is a quarter of the budget. This is more than the entire budget of states and local governments on health this year.
“We spent N300 billion per annum to subsidize electricity which we hardly get. We are subsidizing 50% of the electricity supply. We have an exchange rate of N400 for a dollar but if you want to buy a dollar across the road at Hamdala Hotel, it costs N700.
‘’Some people would buy at N400 and sell at N700 costing us about N4 trillion per annum, that is one-sixth of the entire budget, which is more than the entire budget of education.
“We cannot carry out projects without cash backing but what is our source of income? Federal allocation and internally generated revenue. There are two million people in Kaduna that are employed and 100,000 of them are civil servants.
‘’If we ask them to pay N10,000 per month each or N100,000 per annum we raise N200 billion as internally generated revenue, which is more than our capital budget for this year.
“ We have to talk to ourselves. When we came in we had less than 150 doctors in the health system across the state, but today we have double of that figure,” the governor said.
Earlier in her remarks, Kaduna state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Amina Baloni, said Kaduna State had been able to reduce neonatal death from 63 to 47 per 1,000 and maternal mortality from 187 to 127 per 1,000.
According to the commissioner, the state has recruited 1,225 health workers for its primary healthcare and 1,202 health workers for its secondary healthcare centres, 400 staff were recently replaced, while 259 nurses and midwives are to be posted to the general hospitals.
She said Kaduna State Council on Health came up with health policies that had proffered solutions to the challenges facing the health sector in the state, over the years.