Release Approved Family Planning Budget, Stakeholders Urge AGF

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Dr. Aminu Magashi.
The coordinator, African Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi.

Stakeholders in the health sector have appealed to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to release the budget approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) through the service-wide vote of the approved federal budget, for the procurement of the family planning commodities to the tune of $4 million.

They made the call in a statement signed by the coordinator, African Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr. Aminu Magashi at the end of a two-day retreat to review draft national and state scorecards yesterday (August 10, 2022) in Abuja. 

Magashi said that the RMNCAEH+N recovery plan during the COVID-19 accountability scorecard was developed through rigorous analysis of the 2022 Federal Government-approved budget, review and validation of meetings and independent monitoring of the activities of the RMNCAEH+N National Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Coordination Platform. 

He said the scorecard, which has three categories, is to serve as an evidence tool to be used by all stakeholders – including CSOs, media, advocates, young people and development partners – to strategically influence actions that would promote performance, transparency and accountability in the implementation of country’s RMNCAEH+N continuity response plan (2020-2022) during COVID-19.  

He stated that the scorecard reported three categories including governance and leadership, budgetary allocation and disbursement, accountability and transparency. 

“The stakeholders further urged the RMNCAEH+N platform to formalise the participation of CSOs and youth constituencies with clear roles and modalities of engagement.  

“They also recommended that CSOs and youth representatives on the RMNCAEH+N platform strengthen meaningful engagement with their constituencies through formal channels for inputs and feedback. 

“Other recommendations put forward by the stakeholders include the provision of a dedicated page to be created on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies where information about budget releases and expenditure could be sighted.  

“The CSOs, youth and media to engage the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Finance and donor community to galvanise collaborative efforts towards strengthening the RMNCAEH+N platform and support implementation of the recovery plan. 

“The NGOs, advocates and other critical stakeholders must find a way of talking to the government and the Ministry of Finance (in particular) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) for the release of approved budgets,” he said.  

Magashi said that investments in family planning are an investment in saving the lives of women and children and lead to prosperity for all.  

“Family planning, therefore, is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending poverty and improving wellness and health. Also, it is key to achieving ending hunger and promoting gender equality.  

“That’s why a country as populous as Nigeria needs to promptly release the budget for the procurement of family planning (FP) commodities,” he said. 

“According to the chairman, National Advocates for Health (NA4H), Hon. Mohammed Usman, ‘the money is there. It does not make sense to leave money lying [around] without releasing it to be used for the purpose it is meant. 

“This retreat is an opportunity for us to call on the government to emphasise that these monies must be released.

“At least, before the end of this year, we should have those releases so that the health sector will be improved.”  

Racheal Abujah
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