By Oluwakemi Ishola
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, on Thursday, asked State House officials to put its clinic in order and equip it to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari would have no need to travel abroad for medical treatment.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Danjuma La’ah, made this remark when the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Mr. Tijani Umar, appeared before the panel to defend his 2021 budget estimates.
The State House official had presented a budget of N19.7 billion for 2021, out of which N1.3 billion was proposed for the State House Clinic.
Senator La’ah said the committee would approve the budget for the State House Clinic but insisted that the President and other top officials of his government should no longer be flown abroad for medical treatment.
President Buhari’s first term in office was punctuated by medical trips to the United Kingdom.
Between 2017 and 2018, he travelled abroad at least thrice for medical reasons. One of the trips lasted for over 100 days.
The President, himself, in 2019 lamented that Nigeria loses too much to medical tourism, urging stakeholders to come up with a solution.
In March, the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a N100 billion credit support intervention for the healthcare industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the credit support’s objective was to “reduce health tourism to conserve foreign exchange.”