By Lawrence Olaoye
Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has proposed that private sector operators in the country contribute one percent of their annual profit as tax to fund the nation’s health sector.
The business mogul gave the suggestion yesterday at an interaction with newsmen after participating in an Expanded National Economic Council on Investment in Human Capital chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Dangote said raising funds outside external aids has become imperative as Nigeria is considered a rich country having rebased its economy.
He said “We have had a very good meeting and one of the things that we are also suggesting that will ensure we fund our health sector very well, is for private sector to give one percent of their annual profit.
“That will actually help in raising quite a lot of money because since the rebasing of the economy, we are going to get out of most of these donations we are getting from Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAV), World Bank and the rest of the donor, putting Nigeria as a rich country and not a poor country anymore.
I think we have to also to our own bit to ensure that we have a very vibrant population, Nigeria will be almost number three by 2050 in the World’s population. So we have to make sure that we have a very healthy society.”
Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi, who also briefed newsmen said the governors are appealing to the National Assembly to amend the laws so that they can access the health funds.
Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-rufai in his comments thanked the Dangote and Bill $ Melinda Foundations for reminding them that the dividends of democracy do not stop at provision of infrastructure but also requires human capital development.
He said “India and China have shown that a large population is not a problem, the problem is getting that large population to be productive by getting them sound education and good healthcare.
“Unfortunately this country has been consistently under-investing in healthcare, our investments in education are below average. Even in Africa, our tax revenue in terms of GDP is the lowest in the world. We are moving towards certain disaster unless we recalibrate, focus as government leaders in collaboration with the private sectors and donors, to put our money into the future of our people. And the way to do so is to invest in education. This was the greatest lesson for us today.
As governors, we are committed to scaling up what Dangote and Gates have been doing in our healthcare systems. Kaduna state is one of the states that has benefited strongly from the partnership, they have given us money but more importantly they have helped us focused on what is really important.”
“We at NEC under the leadership of our Chairman, the Vice President are committed to ensuring that we make those choices that will make nigeria great” he assured.