FG to spend N396bn for COVID-19 vaccination

From Esther Akaa

The Federal Government is to spend the sum of N396 billion for COVID-19 vaccination in 2021 and 2022.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed who disclosed this at a weekly Federal Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday and presided over by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the figure may significantly reduce as the FG receives more donations of the vaccines from the private sector.

According to her, the Ministry of Health is working on details of the gap that the FG will be required to fill in the vaccination exercise. The minister further stated that the size of the proposed supplementary budget agreed by the executive and legislative arm is yet to be resolved since the Ministry of Defence and Health, were yet to provide details of the military hardware requirement.

“There will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the military hardware, we have met with the service chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff. They are supposed to aggregate their request for review amongst themselves and then pass it to Mr President, then it will be sent to us,” she said.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has called on stakeholders in the country to support the development of locally made vaccine in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

The Senate President made the call on Wednesday during the presentation of a report titled: “Legislative responses to COVID-19 in Nigeria” by the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the 9th National Assembly in collaboration with West Minister Foundation for Democracy (WFD) held in Abuja,

He said that Nigeria must find the resources for setting up the enabling environment for the nation’s scientists to collaborate with international agencies and other citizens to have  local vaccines.

“It is a must. It is a necessity. It is inevitable. Otherwise, Nigeria may not achieve the needed immunity in the next four or five years with our over 200 million population. This is not a fact based on any scientific research because I don’t want to be misquoted. I am assuming that if it would take the US up to, probably the end of this year to achieve 70 to 75 percent of vaccination for those that are within the age bracket, some developed countries may be looking at next year.

“With our population of over 200 million, we have only vaccinated about four million people. I don’t know how we can get 70 percent of our people vaccinated in the next two to three years which will translate into about 150 million or even more. So we need to work hard and provide the legislative intervention in terms of resources and environment for our scientists to work,” he said.

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