2018 proposed Health Budget: a marginal increase for Health
Within the overall Federal Ministry of Health budget, the recurrent budget increased by 6% from N253.8bn to N269.3bn, this amounts to N16.5bn in nominal terms, it is hoped this additional funds will address the issues of human resources and staff welfare in the Ministry. The capital budget also increased from N55.6bn in 2017 to N71bn and in nominal terms by N 15.5bn.
The Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) has not been funded in the 2018 budget defying all promises made by the executives. Although in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the federal government stated that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) will be funded in 2018; this has not been reflected in Statutory Transfers within the 2018 proposed budget. The total amount for Statutory Transfer in 2018 have been lumped together without any breakdown, and therefore not showing details of agencies funded through Statutory Transfers. Statutory Transfers increased by 5% from N434bn in 2017 to N456bn, but according to the Federal Government ‘’the 5 percent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue’’. This therefore suggests that no budgetary provision has been made for the BHCPF.
Commitments to fund the Family planning budget to the tune of USD 4 million have been met, however the Abuja 15% target was not met.
Increased funding does not necessarily translate to efficient service delivery, thus it is too early to say how well the health sector will perform. Improved health service delivery are reliant not only on increased funding allocations, but also requires good budget execution and public financial management: The performance of the 2018 budget will largely be dependent on how much is released and how timely these releases are made.
There is therefore the need for continued consistent advocacy by civil society on timely budget releases. It is also important that advocacy is sustained before the 2018 budget is approved to ensure that the health sector benefits from the statutory 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government as stipulated by the National Health Act of 2014.