Enugu House Wants To Stop Presentation Of Tax Evidence By Expectant Mothers To Access Medical ServicesIgnatius Okpara, Latest News, News Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Enugu State House of Assembly on Tuesday urged the executive arm to abolish the presentation of evidence of tax payment by expectant mothers, as a precondition for accessing the state Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme in state-owned health facilities.
The Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme was introduced in the state in 2007, by the administration of ex-Governor Sullivan Chime, to enable expectant mothers and children under the age of five to access free medical care to curb maternal and child mortality.
Moving a motion on notice tagged Motion No. HM/05/15 on the floor of the House during its plenary, the member representing Isi-_Uzo Constituency, Hon. Daniel Chukwuemeka Ogbuabor, supported by twelve others submitted that the programme should be made completely free without attaching any conditions such as the evidence of tax payment.
Hon. Ogbuabor who is the chairman House Committee on Health, had argued that to attach a precondition would make the laudable programme a nullity.
He lamented that the pogramme was collapsing as a result of the attached condition.
Hear him: “Mr. Speaker Sir, my distinguished colleagues, the greatest impediment of the Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme is the provision of tax payment as condition precedent for benefiting from the free care programme.
“This requirement was introduced in 2011 as proof of residency in the state. The 2014 State Council on Health observed that introduction of this requirement, the free care programme has been progressively collapsing. Truly, in my constituency, the programme has collapsed,” Ogbuabor points out.
After a robust debate on the motion, the House resolved as follows: “that this Honourable House do urge His Excellency, the Governor, to abolish forthwith evidence of tax payment as condition precedent for benefiting from Enugu State Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme in all the state-owned health facilities.
“That this Honourable House do urge His Excellency, the Governor, to direct the Hon. Commissioner for Health to adopt forthwith alternative contrivance or combination of contrivances other than “evidence of tax payment” to establish residency status of clients seeking to benefit from Enugu State Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme.”
The House posited that as a programme meant for the poor and rich, no condition should be attached to it.
Objection to the motion by Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, of Nsukka East and Hon. Chuka Ene, of Udi South that payment of tax was important because of paucity of revenue accruing to the state fell on deaf ears as his colleagues voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion.
Speaker of the House Hon. Edward Ubosi thanked the movers of the motion, saying that because of the importance and relevance of the programme, “there is no way this kind of motion will die in the House.”
He urged member to bring similar motions of importance for deliberation on the floor of the House.
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