Saturday, 4 April 2020

JUST IN: FG goes to NASS for fresh N500billion to fight COVID-19

The Federal Government, has returned to the National Assembly seeking for approval to dip into the national coffers to pull out a fresh N500billion to continue the war against COVID-19 disease, currently ravaging world with Nigeria already recording four deaths in more than 200 infections cases.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, was said to have met with the NASS leadership on Saturday to intimate it on an Executive proposal to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser to the President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a statement said that the minister held the meeting with the President of the Senate and senior officials of the ministry at the National Assembly Complex in the Federal Capital Territory.

Also in attendance were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, and some principal officers of both Chambers.

The meeting is a follow-up to another one held on March 25 between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis. “What we are proposing is the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. “This Fund that we are proposing should be created will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government as well as the Federation have to be able to pull this N500 billion,” the minister said.

Ahmed added that in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money would be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund would also be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions. “Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified. “The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,’’ she said.

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