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COVID-19: FG to spend N766bn on vaccination ·

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Seeks NASS approval for supplementary budget

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Federal Government is planning to spend a total of N766 billion for vaccination against Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2021 and 2022.

The government is seeking the approval of N367.502 billion through a Supplementary Budget to finance the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 2021 while N399.1 billion would be spent in 2022 for the same purpose.

Already, the Secretary to the Government of the Federal (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to include the money in the Supplementary Budget to be forwarded to the National Assembly.

The SGF’s directive was based on an earlier letter from the State House with reference No. PRES/18/SGF/603 dated January 14, 2021 which contained the president’s approval of the sum.

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Besides the N367.502 billion to be spent on COVID-19 vaccination this year, the federal government also plans to spend N399.036 billion on COVID-19 vaccination procurement, operational costs and health system strengthening in 2022.

The SGF’s letter to the minister was titled: ‘Re: Request for Funds to Procure and Operationalise the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme in Nigeria.’

It was signed by the Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), Mr. Nnamdi  Nbaeri, on behalf of the SGF.

It read in part: “With reference to the attached State house letter No.PRES/81/SGF/603/dated January 14, 2021, I am directed to convey Mr. President’s approval for the inclusion of the following: “The sum of N367, 502, 133, 024.00 be made available as a 2021 supplementary Budget.

“The sum of N399, 036, 566, 306 be made available in the 2022 national budget to finance COVID-19 vaccines procurement, operational costs and health system strengthening to ensure delivery of these vaccines to the population.”

Ahmed had, during the recent 2021 budget public presentation, given the hint that a Supplementary Budget would be sent to the National Assembly to fund the COVID-19 vaccines procurement and vaccination logistics.

She said then that the details of the costs were still being worked out by relevant government officials at the Federal Ministry of Health.

She also disclosed that once the executive was sure of what it would cost to buy the vaccines, with the necessary logistics, a supplementary budget would be presented to the National Assembly, for the approval of the funds.

The Director-General (DG) Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, who gave further explanation at the briefing said that the vaccination of 20 percent of the population would be covered by donations from global bodies but that given the standard practice of having to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population, the nation has to pay for the cost of vaccines for the balance of 50 percent.

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