From Ekaete Ikubor
The Rivers State Executive Council has received a brief that only N2 billion and not the requested N2.5billion, was eventually released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as Healthcare Intervention Fund support to the state.
The briefing on CBN was one among the wide range of issues and approvals considered and given by the council at its meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, recently.
Briefing journalists after the meeting which was presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike, the commissioner for finance, Isaac Kamalu, said the money from the CBN has already been deployed.
Kamalu said: “Council was briefed on the earlier approved CBN Healthcare Intervention Fund wherein approval was granted that the Rivers State Government access the CBN N2.5billion Healthcare Intervention Fund to the effect that the amount actually released by CBN is N2 billion not N2.5 billion as requested”.
The commissioner maintained that the N2 billion has been utilised for the payment of contractors in the respective medical institutions for which approval was sought and granted.
“That is, the Professor Kersley Harrison Hospital, Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital and Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostics and Treatment Centre”, he added.
He explained that with the provision of these medical services by the state government, the quest for medical tourism embarked upon by Nigerians to foreign countries would be reduced.
Kamalu stated that the facilities were being put in place by the government, not just to provide medical services for Rivers citizens and residents, but for other Nigerians who would have the benefit of getting these medical services without seeking to go abroad for the same service.
The commissioner hinted that council had also approved the establishment of a first-class radiology and radiotherapy unit at the Dr Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostics and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt.
This unit, he stated, would be run by professional healthcare management experts who would ensure that maximal and requisite services were provided.