Reps ‘murmur’ over bill punishing officials for medical tourism

The House of Representatives became rowdy on Wednesday, following the presentation of a bill seeking jail term for public officeholders embarking on medical tourism.

According to a report, the bill presented by Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo), titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to amend the National Health Act, 2014; and for related matters’, “generated murmurs”.

The bill, which passed the first reading, prescribes seven years jail term and/or a fine of N500m for officials who spend public funds on foreign medical trips.

Ogun said medical tourism by public officials negatively affects indigenous health institutions.

“The need to revamp the poor state of the health care sector in Nigeria, among other things, is the reason for introducing this bill.

“The intent of this bill is to spur public officers to pay more attention to our health care sector and take drastic steps to develop and improve on the sector.”

He added that if the bill is passed, it would stop capital flight through health-related causes.

The lawmaker also cited existing legislation banning officials from using unapproved funding for their foreign medical treatment.

He however said the law did not prescribe any consequence for offenders.



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