The House of Representatives has proposed a Bill for an Act to amend the National Health Act, 2014, in which any public officer of the government of the federation or any part thereof, for seeking undue medical check-up or treatment abroad will face a seven-year jail term and N500 million fine.
The bill which was sponsored by Sergius Ogun, from Edo State, scaled the second reading in the Green Chamber at the plenary session.
The lawmaker stated: “This bill, when passed into law, will demonstrate government’s commitment to the welfare of her citizens in the sense that funds which were hitherto expended in foreign medical trips will be redirected into building an efficient and effective health care system in the country. This will in turn positively impact on the lives and wellbeing of the people.
“This Bill will stop the export of cash abroad and redirect same to the development of our economy. This cash which flies abroad in the disguise of one medical trip or the other will be retained here in our country and be used to develop our nation.”
The legislators seek to amend Section 46 of the National Health Act,2014 provides that: “Without prejudice to the right of any Nigerian to seek medical check-up, investigation or treatment anywhere within and outside Nigeria, no public officer of the Government of the Federation or any part thereof shall be sponsored for medical check-up, investigation or treatment abroad at public expense except in exceptional cases on the recommendation and referral by the medical board and which recommendation and referral shall be poop duly approved by the Minister or Commissioner of health of the State as the case may be.
The proposed amendment bill clause 2(2) states that; “Any public officer of the Government of the Federation or any part thereof who violates the provision above shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000,000 or to an imprisonment term of seven years, or both.”