The National Assembly Joint Committee on Health has asked the Ministry of Health to suspend plans of spending the N10 billion released to them by the Ministry of Finance, to support the domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines.
During one of the briefings of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 last week, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire announced that funds had been released as part of plans to explore options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions.
But the national assembly committee said on Wednesday, that it is not satisfied with the explanation of the Minister on how the N10 billion will be utilised.
This decision was reached at a meeting between the lawmakers, Ehanire and other representatives including the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Director-General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib.
Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe said the committee has directed that the money should not be spent until the Ministry can state clearly, what the money will be used for.
“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 money) until you provide us satisfactory answer. Once you provide us the details then we will invite all the necessary persons,” Oloriegbe said.
The Health Minister at the meeting said the money was part of an agreement between the Federal Government and a foreign partner, May and Baker PLC for the production of bio vaccines.
He said the ministry is acting on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and the foreign partner for the production of the bio vaccines.