The House of Representatives has asked for the restoration of equipment procurement powers to the Ministry of Health to pro-actively tackle the menace of Lassa fever and coronavirus.
The House stated that the inability of the ministry to procure equipment, protective personnel gadgets and other laboratory and logistical equipment/services, reagents and drugs was seriously hampering the efforts of the federal government to tight and contain the coronavirus and Lassa fever epidemics.
Motion to this effect was co-moved by Shehu Balarabe Kakale, Tanko Sonunu and Babatunde Adejare at plenary Wednesday.
Moving the motion, Kakale noted that the federal government has proactively provided or released huge sums of money amounting to about N386m for the effort.
He, however, expressed concern that basic protective equipment as face masks, thermal scanners and gloves were rapidly depleting and going out of stock in the ministry.
He said: “It is worried that the Federal government has stripped the Ministry of Health of its procurement powers and transferred same to the ministry of Agriculture since the last quarter of last year.
“The House is also worried that this scenario seriously causes inefficiency, delays and corrupt practices in the system putting millions of Nigerian lives and the economy in grievous danger.”
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to investigate the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Health on the reasons for their violation of the Procurement Act.
It also asked the Ministry of Agriculture to concentrate on its mandate of zoonotic disease control, animal, public health and veterinary services in the all-important collaborative effort with relevant MDAs to contain these highly infectious and other diseases.
Members also directed all relevant MDAs to redouble efforts and support the Federal Government in protecting the precious lives of Nigerians in the face of the unprecedented health challenges while mandating the committees on Health, Agriculture and Finance to ensure implementation.