By Abiemwense Moru
Abuja – The Bill to amend the Orthopaedic Hospital Management Board Act passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill seeks to amend sections 1(1), 2(4), 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 12(1), 13(1), 14(3) and 15 as well as the first schedule of the principal Act.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP), said the intent of the bill was to change the date of the submission of annual estimates to the Minister of Health and increase some penalties.
Apiafi, who led debate at the second reading, said that the principal Act empowered the board to prepare and submit to the minster not later than Oct. 31 in each financial year.
“Such estimates shall be submitted by the minister for approval by the President.
“However, going by the law, the time stated in Section 10(1) of the Principal Act to submit annual estimates by the Hospital Management Board is three months to the next financial year.
“This falls short of the provision of the FRA of 2007, hence the need for the amendment.
“The amendment of the Act is to reposition the management board of national orthopaedic hospitals in Nigeria and to align with international best practices.
“The bill does not violate any known constitutional provision and legislation in Nigeria.
“Rather, it seeks to amend the inadequacies observed in grammatical expression as well as the fine being charged for violating the hospital rule as stated in Section 15(3) of the Principal Act.
“The sum is a paltry (N10) that cannot deter offenders, but carries little or no financial weight with current reality,” she said.
When the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, called for a vote of members on the bill, they overwhelmingly voted for the passage of the bill through second reading.
Consequently, Dogara referred it to the Committee on Health Institutions
to conduct a public hearing. (NAN)
By Abiemwense Moru