The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government has agreed on a supplementary budget of N396 billion to buy COVID-19 vaccines.
She spoke at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
“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 N396 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations for 2021 and 2022.’’
The minister explained that the delay in the submission of the supplementary budget on COVID-19 was because the government wanted to confirm the vaccines donation that Nigeria was expecting from donors.
“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 roll out the four million vaccines that have been brought already into the country, and the vaccination process is ongoing.
“So for us, 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 2021 component we will provide it during the 2022 appropriations.”
President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila met on Tuesday and agreed on supplementary budget for COVID-19 vaccination and procurement of military hardware.