By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The bill seeking to establish the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency Tuesday, passed for the third reading during the plenary of the Cross River State House of Assembly CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
The bill, sponsored by Hon. Ekpo Ekpo Bassey and co-sponsored by six other members of the house was to provide for the establishment of the agency as a social purpose vehicle with the mandate to organize and harmonize the activities of the Primary Health Care units of the 18 local government areas of the state.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that prior to the passage into law, there had being so much horse trading by stakeholders in the private sector, the health sector and the local government administration to scuttle efforts to create the agency or as a compromise, make it remain a department under the state ministry of health.
Findings also revealed that the bill was supposed to have being read the third time last week Tuesday but for some unknown reasons, was delayed till Tuesday. The Director General of the Agency, Betta Edu was absent at the public hearing which was dominated by people who were averse to the agency being on its own.
A reliable source in the agency fingered people benefiting from the old structure on ground which sees primary health workers operate under the Unified Local Government Scheme as “working assiduously to ensure the agency remains under the local government control”.
CrossRiverWatch reported earlier this year that past chairmen and board members of the local government service commission, former commissioners of local government affairs, chairmen of councils and several others are contributing to the dearth of manpower and corruption in the sector as our investigations reveals that agency presently has over 4,000 ghost workers on the payroll of government as figures from the commission showed more than 6,000 while what was on ground is barely 2,000.
But the signing of the bill into law will see the staff move under the agency, the elated DG of the Agency, Dr. Betta Edu told our House of Assembly correspondent in a chat after the bill was signed.
In a message published on the website of the agency at www.crsphcda.com Betta is quoted to have described the passage of the bill for the third time as an “Iconic moment in the history of the health sector in Cross River State, especially as it relates to the Primary Health Care System”.
It will be recalled that following the establishment of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, a few years ago, Cross River State had followed suit by enacting the State Primary Health Care Development Agency law in 2011 which the then Governor Liyel Imoke did not implement for unknown reasons but created the Department of Community and Primary Health.
However, the incumbent Governor Ben Ayade upon assumption of office, re-established the agency and a private member bill was sponsored to that effect and with its passage by the Assembly, the old law stands repealed and the final copy has been forwarded to the governor for assent.
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