Financing health intervention will be very difficult for the federal government as can seen in the sectoral allocation to the health sector in the 2020 Appropriation Bill sent by the President to the National Assembly. In it, a paltry N48 billion was budgeted to take care of the health of over 200 million Nigerians. There is no better option to look for smart and sustainable financing for this critical sector than to look at Diaspora remittances.
PWC reported that the total Diaspora remittance in 2018 was $23.63 billion, and projected that it will hit $25 billion by the end of 2019. These figures dwarf the total income realized by the federal government from oil and gas, the major contributors to the nation’s revenue. Deriving and investing 10% ($2.5 billion) of this fund, which translates into N900 billion, into the health sector, will turnaround the sector and position the country towards actualizing the goal by 2030. Diaspora remittances of the 1.4 million Nigerians abroad presents a smart funding mechanism if properly harnessed. It can fund the government’s desire to achieve UHC with no long-term stringent condition on the nation’s finances like the Chinese loans. Research have shown that Diaspora remittances are majorly for informal purposes such as paying school fees, house rents, medical bills, property development, taking care of aging parents or relatives’ upkeep and investments in stocks.
This fund must be systematically channel -led towards addressing critical areas including bridging the gap between the have and have not. However, the success of this financing approach is subject to a number of factors, key among which are transparency of the funding process, adoption of need-based approach with limited political intervention, accountability of the management of the resources, strong political goodwill, proper marketing of the idea and, above all, value for money in the utilization of the resources.
Princewill Eziukwu, C
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