Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, has called on the Federal Government to invest more in public services, especially the health sector of the country.
She said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of a research report to mark the 2020 International Public Service Day.
The title of the research is ‘Who Cares for the Future; Finance Gender Responsive Public Services’.
The event was organised in collaboration with Public Services International and the Nigerian Labour Congress.
She said the research was aimed at generating evidence to support the development of the policy change agenda on gender responsive public services focusing on the health sector.
She added that the research was conducted in Kwara, Bauchi and the Federal Capital Territory.
Obi added that findings from the research revealed that health care delivery in Nigeria has grossly been underfunded by all tiers of government, which had placed a burden of healthcare on the shoulders of individuals.
“Other than the poor funding of the health care sector by the government,limited supervision of healthcare providers in the private and public sector undermines government’s intention to rapidly scale up access to quality health care for Nigerians, women and girls inclusive.
“From all indications, Covid-19 will have a dramatic impact on public finances in the short and medium term in our country.
“We know that this is an especially intense period for Nigeria government as it tries to secure resources for desperately needed services in a difficult environment.
“The pandemic has made the rebuilding of public finances for public health and other public services crucial and should be considered an opportunity for some fundamental system change and transformation, as the government looks for structural solutions and new ways forward,” she said.
Obi also recommended that the government should coordinate with other countries to suspend or if possible, cancel all debt payments through to the end of 2021.
She added that the government should also reject any aid or loan from the World bank or other multilateral development banks that support privatisation of public private partnership.
The country director also assured of her organisation’s readiness to work with the government to ensure revaluing of frontline public sector workers as they are the foundation for a sustainable economic future.
In her remarks, Comrade Abiodun Badru, Representative of the Public Service International, added that the need to invest in public services could not be over emphasized.
She added that for the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the need to invest in the health sector and health workers is important.
Comrade Rita Goyit of the Nigerian Labour Congress, added that to end medical tourism, investment in the health care sector is of utmost importance, as the workforce of any nation was the engine room of governance.