Former Vice-president and PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has assured that his administration will partner with the private sector towards investing and making health care delivery readily available and affordable to Nigerians, when given the mandate as the President of Nigeria.
Atiku spoke on Sunday, December 4, while fielding questions at the Arise TV Presidential Town Hall Series Three, in Lagos.
He said apart from encouraging Nigeria’s private sector to invest in affordable healthcare delivery, he will review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which he noted, was initiated while he was the vice president of Nigeria, to make it inclusive and affordable for all Nigerians.
“We need to first address the issue of primary healthcare, which affects the majority of our citizens, then we can focus on the secondary and tertiary levels afterwards. The truth is that we are not investing enough as a government in the medical sector.
“Another issue is medical tourism. We need to sit with the private sector and tell them we want them to invest in the health sector and that we are ready to offer incentives. With the right incentives, I believe Nigeria’s Private sector will invest adequately in the Health sector, Atiku stated.
On Local Government autonomy, the PDP Presidential Candidate who demonstrated uncommon depth and wealth of experience, noted that there are fundamental flaws in the Local Government legislation in Nigeria and assured that when voted as the President of Nigeria come 2023, his administration will vigorously pursue constitutional amendment towards establishing legal framework for ensuring that the third tier of government are not starved of funds, including, the option of granting full autonomy to the Local Governments in Nigeria.
Atiku said when he assumed office as the Vice President in 1999, he was placed in charge of Local Government allocation, revealing how he gave instructions that all Local Government Funds should be transferred directly to the councils.
However, according to Atiku, the instruction could not be sustained for a long time due to protest by the State Governments.
“After 9 months, the Government of the States protested and said it was illegal,” the PDP Presidential candidate stated and affirmed the constitution has to be looked into critically, with a view to determining how to ensure local Government funds are directly allocated to the Local Government Councils and applied in the best possible way.
On Poverty alleviation, Atiku Abubakar decried the high poverty rate in the country and said it was relatively low when PDP was in Power at the Centre, noting that the PDP administration as at then, implemented National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) which he said reduced the poverty rate in the Country significantly.
“I believe the programmes initiated by the PDP Government which brought down the poverty rate in Nigeria should be sustained,” he said
Atiku further promised to alleviate the 133 Million Nigerians out of poverty, through educational reforms, geared towards preparing youths for the private sector which he declared, remains the engine and driver of prosperity in any given economy.
On how to revive the education sector’s decline and children out of school issue, Atiku, who displayed unusual capacity throughout the duration of the Townhall meeting, anchored by veteran broadcaster Charles Aniagolu, said there was need for more investment in education, saying that additional funding and infrastructure are required, adding that providing the right type of education will go a long way in addressing insecurity in Nigeria.
He said that bottlenecks that stifle the funding meant to get to the Universities should be avoided, with a view to establishing enduring peace in the Universities.