By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government is mobilizing funds to take delivery of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in the next one week.
To this end, federal government is set to present supplementary budget to the National Assembly for acquisition of vaccines and vaccination of frontline workers.
Ahmed, who made this disclosure at the maiden edition of the State House Weekly Briefing at the Aso Rock Villa, said the government was working on the type and quantity of COVID-19 vaccines to procure.
“We are already releasing money to the health authority to start operation on the first batch of vaccines that is going to arrive the country in one week.
“But what we have in the budget is not enough, so we are working with the health authorities to provide a plan that will be taken to the President for approval and to the National Assembly as a supplementary budget specifically for COVID -19 vaccination,” she said.
She said her ministry and the Ministry of Health will meet to finalise an amount to be allocated for the procurement of the vaccines.
Ahmed said: “There will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March, relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, we will also have a mid-year review like we did last year of the budget.
“And if at the time we do the review and there is a need to go back to do any amendment for supplementary budget, at that time we will take that decision, if not, we will just report the review.”
According to the Minister, Nigeria exiting recession faster than expected despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, was due to the fiscal and monetary policies as well as the Economic Sustainability Plan.
Ahmed also revealed that there are plans to get the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve a memo to compel MDAs to patronize Made in Nigeria products, especially made in Nigeria vehicles.
“The federal government is committed to buying made in Nigeria products and buying made in Nigeria vehicles in particular. So, we will be hoping to have a Federal Executive council approval to compel federal government agencies to buy made in Nigeria vehicles.
“We are hoping to also engage the states and encourage the states to take similar measures. It is important for us because we want to make sure the automotive industry survives and grows.
“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has just finished a review of automated policy, which has been running now for seven years.
“Once the ministry gets its approvals, then the review will be announced and perhaps there will be a refreshing of the measures that are contained in that policy,” the minister said.