Apparently concerned with huge sums being expended by President Muhammadu Buhari and other top state officials on foreign medical treatments yearly, the Senate on Thursday cautioned against such medical trips by the affected officials in view of the deleterious effects on the nation’s public finance system.
Specifically, the Senators kicked against the medical tourism practice when the State House Permanent Secretary, Tijani Umar, appeared before the panel to defend the State House 2021 budget estimates.
According to the Upper Legislative Chamber, rather than allow the President and other top government functionaries to continue to seek medical attention and treatment overseas, the government should commit resources to the State House Clinic to improve its standards and functionality.
Contributing to the budget deliberations, Senator Danjuma La’ah, who is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, described medical tourism as undesirable for the country now.
Senator Danjuma La’ah explained that though the committee would approve the budget for the State House Clinic, the President and other top officials of his government should no longer be flown abroad for medical treatment
Earlier during his presentation, the State House Permanent Secretary proposed a budget of N19.7bn for 2021, out of which N1.3bn was proposed for the State House Clinic.
Speaking with journalists after defending the budget, Mallam Umar promised to put necessary arrangements to ensure functional efficiency of the State House Clinic to meet the medical needs of the President and other top officials once the budget is approved.