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Zainab Ahmed: Why 2021 supplementary budget has been delayed

Zainab Ahmed: Why 2021 supplementary budget has been delayed
March 31
20:51 2021

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, says the supplementary budget has been not been sent to the national assembly because the chief of defence staff has not submitted the estimates for military hardware.

Ahmed told state house correspondents on Wednesday that the supplementary budget will cover the procurement of security equipment and COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the minister, the federal government has put on hold its plan to build additional primary healthcare centres across the country due to a paucity of funds.

She said the ministry has held a meeting with Lucky Irabor, the chief of defence staff, and other service chiefs on the urgent need of the estimates for the military hardware to be procured.

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“Sometime in January, the president, based on the request by the ministry of health, gave approval in principle 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,” Ahmed said.

“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 an N103 billion for the building of primary healthcare centres.

“So we’ve worked with and met several times with the ministry, we’ve agreed to back out from this building of primary health care centres, that can wait till later. So there’s still a provision of N396 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations for 2021 and 2022.”

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Ahmed also explained that officials from the ministry of health have been mandated to come up with the total number of vaccine donation being expected to guide the government in its plans to buy more vaccines.

“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 slowed down on what we’re buying ourselves.

“We have already provided to the ministry funds to enable them to roll out the four million vaccines that have been brought already into the country, and the vaccination process is ongoing.

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“We hope in the next couple of days, we’ll 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.”

She said the vaccines to be purchased in 2022 will be included in the 2022 budget.

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