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Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2017

Trump’s Foreign Aid Cut To Further Negate Nigerian Healthcare Gains

A new policy of President Donald Trump of the United States aimed at cutting that country’s aid will likely negatively impact Nigeria’ health services, especially non-governmental health organisations.
This was made known by a former US intelligence community’s top expert on Nigeria and publisher of nigeriaknowledge.com, Matthew Page.
President Trump has proposed a 37 percent foreign aid cut in his country’s 2017 budget. But the State Department budget won’t be getting cut as deeply as President Donald Trump initially suggested after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson successfully pushed back with the White House, according to people familiar with the plans.
The budget blueprint expected later this week will still trim funding for both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development next year, but by less than the 37 percent initially floated in preliminary documents sent out by the White House in late February.
Nigeria depends heavily on international organizations such as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other nongovernmental organizations for lifesaving drugs such as HIV/AIDS drugs and other health services.
But it is noteworthy that US foreign aid cut is neither starting with President Trump, nor is it target specifically at Nigeria. Over the previous three fiscal years which ran under President Barrack Obama, US aid to Nigeria had been in steep decline, and is only being exacerbated under Trump.
In 2014, US total disbursed aid to Nigeria was $456 million, of which more than $402 million, a whopping 88 percent went to health. In that year, US aid to Nigeria fell by 13.72 percent from the previous year,
In 2015, out of US total disbursed aid of $393.5 million to Nigeria, health took $311 million, 79 percent of aid to Nigeria.
And in 2016, when US foreign aid to Nigeria fell by 60.83 percent to 154.1 million, health took 64.77 percent. In that year US health aid to Nigeria fell by 67.89 percent.
It is uncertain how badly Trump’s cut on foreign aid will affect health, especially for the tens of thousands in need of lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs.
The budget revision is expected to include “staged cuts” spread out over several years, instead of the immediate hit, according to a senior administration official, who said that the White House is giving Tillerson time “to do a deeper analysis on foreign aid.”
Tillerson wouldn’t agree to a 37 percent cut in the next fiscal year because he wants to decide how the cuts are made, this person said, focusing on departments, offices and issues that he doesn’t think are important.
It wasn’t clear exactly how much the upcoming budget proposal would slash State Department funding right away, or if the staged cuts would eventually add up to 37 percent from this year.
The United States’ foreign aid constitutes less than one percent of its annual budget.

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