By Fatima Oluwakemi Saka (Abuja-Nigeria)
The Senate on Wednesday amended the National Health Insurance Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) bill, 2021, passed by the National Assembly in April last year.
The amendment of the law followed the consideration of a motion for re-committal of some clauses by the Committee of the Whole.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), sponsored the motion for re-committal.
The Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, in his presentation on behalf of the Senate Leader, recalled that the National Assembly transmitted the bill after its passage to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on April 23, 2020.
He observed that the President, after critical examination of the bill, raised some fundamental issues which, according to him, required fresh legislative action to clauses 20, 24(2), and 25(2)(c).
Senator Boroffice explained that the decision by the National Assembly to amend the bill was in line with the need to address all observations raised by the President.
Accordingly, the upper chamber deleted clause 20 of the bill which provides for Third Party Administrator.
It also amended the provisions of clause 24(2) on the implementation of the Basic Health Care Fund.
The amended clause reads, “for the purpose of subsection (1), the Authority shall implement the Basic Health Care Provision Fund as set out in the National Health Act 2014, and any guidelines developed in that regard.”
The Senate also amended the provisions of clause 25 by deleting clause 25(c) on the Establishment and Sources of Vulnerable Group Fund.
The upper chamber introduced a new clause to replace the deleted one.
The new clause provides for “Special Intervention Funds allocated by Government and appropriated by the National Assembly” as a source for the Vulnerable Group Fund.
The amendment was proposed by Chairman of the Health Committee (Secondary and Tertiary), Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), and seconded by Sadiq Umar Suleiman (Kwara North).
The Senate on Wednesday also passed five bills for concurrence.
The bills include National Hydrographic Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2021, Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Federal College of Education (Technical) Ako, Ago-Iwoye (Establishment) Bill, 2021.
Others are the Federal University of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Chatered Institute of Statisticians of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2021.
The bills were sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.
Meanwhile, a total of three bills also scaled second reading during Wednesday’s plenary session.
The bills seek to provide for the establishment of the Institute of Culture and Tourism Oke-Igbo, Ondo State; a teaching hospital for the Federal University, Dustin-ma and management board for the hospital; and the Federal Orthopedic Hospital Obokun, Osun State.
The bills were sponsored by Senators Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South), Babba Kaita Ahmad (Katsina North) and Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (Osun East), respectively.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on Culture and Tourism; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary).
The Committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.