We’re still discussing with N’Assembly over budget, says Presidency
• Minister denies returning appropriation to lawmakers
• Govt tackles NASS over cut in allocation for vaccines
Expectations that the 2016 budget would be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari appeared far off yesterday after the more than three hours meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not seem to address the grey areas of disagreement with the lawmakers.
The Budget and National Planning Minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, who was answering questions from State House correspondents during a media briefing yesterday, said the Executive was still talking with the National Assembly members over the matter, but refused to give details.
Buhari presided over the meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance.
Udoma, who denied media reports that the Federal Government had returned the budget to the National Assembly, said that the document was still with the Executive.
Udoma, who was flanked by his colleagues in the Ministries of Communication, Adebayo Shittu; Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fasola and Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, noted that FEC also approved the draft copy of the National Food Nutrition Policy aimed at improving the food nutrition value for the country.
His words: “At the Council meeting today, there were three or four memos from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the most important one was the national policy on food and nutrition.
“In Nigeria, the situation of malnutrition is a serious problem and the ministry is co-ordinating the policy to ensure that we reduce the incidence of malnutrition in Nigeria and that will require various ministries working together liaising with state governments, local councils and the private sector.
“One of the measures that Federal Government is taking is the school feeding programme which we intend to implement this year.”
Meanwhile, if things work according to plan, Nigeria will soon introduce a vaccine against the deadly human papillomavirus (HPV), the cervical cancer-causing virus, into the nation’s immunisation system.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) fact sheet, three-quarters of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries where programmes for screening and treatment are seriously deficient.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Ado Mohammed, stated this yesterday, a development also collaborated by the Nigeria Project Leads, International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Dr. Chizoba Wonodi.