December 23, 2021

House of Representatives Failed to Meet the Deadline on the Amendment of the National Health Act as Promised in its Agenda.

Promise: Amend the NHA Act to increase access and affordability of healthcare in the country while providing a wider range of insurance options to meet the unique needs of the citizen.

Abiola Durodola
Last Updated
December 24, 2021
min read

After the inauguration of the 9th Assembly of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila releaseda legislative agenda that highlighted the priorities and the direction of the assembly’s interventions. In 2021, the house of representatives updated the legislative agenda of the 9th Assembly taking into consideration, the new reality as caused by the ravaging COVID-19.

In the revised legislative agenda document, one of the promises and legislative action of the Gbajabiamila-led HOR on healthcare delivery is to“Amend the National Health Act (NHA)” in the country as part of its bid tomake healthcare service affordable in the country.

Specifically, in the document that is available on the house of representative’s legislative agenda website, the Gbajabiamila-led assembly promised that it will amend the National Health Act (NHA) to provide for the establishment of sustainable sources of revenue to finance the health sector within the domestic economy beyond the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF)and to establish a legal framework in the NHA that specifies counterpart funding from States to qualify for federal grants towards providing affordable health care in their state.

Further, the legislative agenda document of the house of Representatives categorized the amendment of the National Health Act under its short-term actions. This further makes it an action that must have been completed by the 1st of May, 2021. However, the amended bill is yet to be passed into law as of July 2021.

Experts have pinpointed the importance of the National Health Act and how it can be used as a tool to strengthen the healthcare system in Nigeria. In February 2021, the speaker of the HoR further restated the assembly’s readiness to amend the act.

“We must ensure that our healthcare system at home is robust enough to accommodate and respond to current realities because if we have learned anything from recent events, it is that in a global crisis, it is every country for itself,” said Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, at the opening of a three-day retreat on the act in Abuja in February 2021.

Although, last year, the National Health Act (NHA) Amendment Bill 2019 passed the second reading in the 9th House of Representatives, the HoR has failed to meet its deadline for the amendment of the National Health Act as stated in its policy document.

Thus, we rate this as a Promise Broken.