Unhappy with the Health Ministry’s lack of specific plan on the local production of COVID-19 vaccine, the National Assembly has asked the ministry to suspend spending the N10 billion released to it for vaccine production.
Following the second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria, N10 billion was recently released by the Ministry of Finance to the Health Ministry to fund local production of COVID-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, January 27, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health met with the Ministry of Health in Abuja on the matter.
The lawmakers at the meeting were dissatisfied with the explanation of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on how his ministry planned to utilise the N10 billion.
In his reaction, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, told the minister that they were not satisfied with his explanation, hence, he must suspend spending the money.
Oloriegbe said, “This N10 billion is just given to you, with due respect, with what you have given to us, you don’t have a specific detailed plan for it.
“Our decision, for now, is that you can’t spend it (the N10 billion) until you provide us with a satisfactory answer.
“Once you provide us the details then we will invite all the necessary persons.”
Osagie had at the meeting said that the N10 billion was part of an agreement the Federal Government reached with a foreign partner, May and Baker PLC for the production of bio vaccines.
He added that the Health Ministry was working with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Federal Government and the foreign partner agreed on for the production of the bio vaccines.
The health minister attended the meeting in the company of the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry among others.