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Minister gives account of disbursement of N500bn COVID-19 funds



The Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, on Thursday, detailed how the COVID-19 funds was disbursed in the fight against the pandemic.

Agba revealed this at the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) Conference organised by Connected Development (CODE) in partnership with BudgIT, a civil society organisation in Abuja.

Of the N500 billion COVID-19 funds, N288billion has been released to implementing agencies to support programmes and Federal Government, the minister disclosed.

“The total package includes N500 billion stimulus from special federal government account in the budget and a N1.8 trillion through financial institutions.

“From the N500 billion stimuli from the revised 2020 budget, there is a provision of 126 billion to build resilience health system in Nigeria to prevent possible loss of lives.

“The government set out to improve health infrastructure by building molecular labs in 52 federal medical centres and teaching hospitals across the country.

“Others include the provision of isolation centres, paying hazard allowance for health professionals, providing personal protective equipment for security agencies and hospitals to continue their operations supporting agencies like the NCDC, NAFDAC among others to play their roles in combating this pandemic.’’

Read also: SERAP wants Buhari to probe alleged misuse of N4.5bn COVID-19 funds by Kogi govt

Agba further stated that the Federal Government supported the states, with 50 per cent of the 500 billion was released to the various responsible agencies.

He added that each of the 36 states including the FCT was given a billion Naira to help fight COVID-19 except for Lagos that got 10 billion and Kano got 5 billion due to their population.

“Most of the MDAs received at least 50 per cent of the budget for projects, like Ministry of Agriculture which has N34 billion as the budget for rural roads was given 50 per cent of that amount and they were also given 50 per cent of the amount for land preparation which is N1.25 billion.

“The mass rural electrification and solar power strategy had N6.2 billion released to them FERMA received 30 billion for bridges and major roads, Ministry of Trade and Investment got N75 billion MSME programmes, while federal medical centres with about N49 billion budget received 50 per cent of that amount allocated.’’

Agba said that the government also put all loan repayment by the various state governments on hold, this included repayment of both the principal loan and the accrued interest.

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