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FG budgets N396bn for COVID-19 vaccination

By News Desk

The Federal Government has disclosed that no fewer than N396 billion has been budgeted for provision of COVID-19 vaccine from 2021-22 in the 2022 Appropriation.

It explained that the move had become imperative in ensuring that Nigerians are vaccinated and get adequate protection against the deadly pandemic ravaging the world.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said that though the figure had been pegged at N396 billion, there were probabilities that the figure may be adjusted as the Federal Government receives more vaccines donations from private sector.

The minister stated this on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

According to her, the Ministry of Health is working on details of the gap that the Federal Government will be required to fill in the vaccination exercise.

She also explained that the size of the proposed supplementary budget agreed by the executive and legislative arm was yet to be resolved because the ministries involved were yet to provide detailed requirements.

According to her, sometime in January, the president has based on the request by the Ministry of Health given in-principle approval for the Ministry of Health to work with the Ministry of Finance, budget and National Planning to prepare and take to the National Assembly a supplementary budget for COVID-19 vaccination.

“The submission that was made to Mr. President at that time was in the sum of N399 billion, but included in this N399 billion was a N103 billion for building of primary healthcare centres. So we have worked with that and met several times with the ministry, we have agreed to back out from this building of primary health care centres, that can wait till later. So there is still a provision of 396 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations for 2021 and 2022.

“There have been some delays because we expected the ministry to confirm the vaccines donation that Nigeria is expecting. We are expecting a total of not less than 43 million doses of vaccines. So they are supposed to find out when those ones will come. Because, if we are going to get back the donated vaccines, and at the speed of the current rollout, we have to slow down on what we are buying ourselves.

“So the ministry is working with partners that are donating these vaccines. We see the timelines of the donations and see the gap that the government needs to fill in 2021, but we have already provided to the ministry funds to enable them to roll out the four million vaccines that have been brought already into the country, and the vaccination process is ongoing.

“So for u, it is still work in progress. We hope in the next couple of days, we will have clarity on the schedule of vaccines expected from donors, and then we will now be able to firm up what government has to provide for in 2021. And therefore the 2022 component we will provide it during the 2022 appropriations.”

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