The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has identified the pain point why the meager resources allocated to the health sector could not translate to improved health outcomes and demonstrable value for money: There is “a misalignment between planning and budgeting with a disconnect between those responsible for planning (Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, DPRS) and those responsible for budgeting (Department of Finance and Accounts, DFA), and miscommunication with external stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) as well as the National Assembly (NASS), etc.”
This was revealed in the Honourable Minister’s keynote address delivered at a Breakfast Meeting held to conduct Peer Learning Sessions to disseminate lessons learnt and achievements on the Federal Ministry of Health’s Budget Process Reforms, held at Barcelona Hotel, Abuja, on Friday, 11th December, 2020.
Dr. Ehanire however revealed that there have been efforts to remedy the noticed gaps. He said the steps taken include: refined processes for development of strategic budgets that are linked to the health sector’s priorities; regular capacity building and budget performance monitoring.
These reforms, he said commenced with the constitution of the Planning and Budget (P&B) Committee, a collaboration mechanism to address the disconnect between the DHPRS and DFA on budget matters, and to oversee the Planning Cells consisting of planning and budget desk officers across FMoH Departments, Agencies and Parastatals (DAPs) in the development of their respective Annual Operational Plans (AOPs) and Budgets.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire was represented at the Breakfast Meeting of Friday 11th December, 2020 by Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry.
The Honourable Minister further revealed that the Planning and Budget (P&B) Committee has since supported the Planning Cells to develop and submit timely and strategic health budgets through the institutionalization of a yearly Annual Operational Plan (AOP) and Mock Budget development exercise ahead of the issuance of the Call Circular by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning (FMFBNP) for preparation of the National Budget. “To demonstrate value for money and reframe communications with the FMFBNP and National Assembly (NASS), the Committee developed an intermediate outcome budget performance monitoring approach that links financial inputs to the achievement of health outcomes”, the Minister surmised.
Dr. Ehanire concluded that “Without mincing words, the efforts so far put into the Budget Process Reforms have started yielding good results which manifested in the quick preparation and submission of our 2021 Annual Budget to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning for onward transmission to the NASS and eventual passage into law. As you are all aware, the defense of the FMOH 2021 Fiscal Year Budget at NASS has been concluded and we are awaiting final approval.”
In restating the objective of the Breakfast Meeting, the Honourable Minister said it is to conduct peer learning session to further advocate, broaden and harmonize the perspectives of the different actors in the budget process of the Ministry. The specific objectives of the exercise he said, are to: disseminate achievements and share learning from the FMoH budget process reforms; and support participants to apply learning and findings to their respective budget process.
Earlier, while giving the opening address at the Breakfast Meeting, the Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora who was represented at the occasion by his Special Technical Assistant, Dr. David Atunwo, mni remarked that “Budget and Planning are two key activities organisations must institutionalise to be able to achieve good results.”
Dr. Mamora commended the collaboration between the two departments of Health Planning, Research and Statistics and Finance and Accounts as “a step in the right direction and already giving the desired results.”
In his own intervention, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdulahi pointed out that the 2020 Shadow Budget exercise carried out by the Ministry is designed to achieve enhanced capacity strengthening and performance of the Planning Cell Officers on budgeting processes. He said further that the exercise was focused on having a better understanding of the key strategic planning documents relevant to the Nigerian health sector. “These documents include Medium Term Revenue Framework (MTRF), Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS), Federal Government Fiscal Strategic Paper (FSP), and Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP)/ Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).” He concluded his intervention by revealing that the exercise was “also to cover the general knowledge of annual operational planning, its development, elements and the key steps involved in the operational planning process leaning towards implementation of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP II).”
The Breakfast Meeting was attended by some Directors, a good number of Planning and Budgeting Staff of the Ministry supported by known partners of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & Public Relations, FMOH.