Prince Clem Agba, the Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning on Thursday gave a breakdown of the COVID-19 expenditure in the country, The Nation reports.
Agba revealed this at the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) Conference organised by Connected Development (CODE) in partnership with BudgIT civil society organisation in Abuja.
According to Agba, of the N500 billion COVID-19 funds, N288 billion has been released to implementing agencies to support programmes and Federal Government, while the ministry is now in the process of releasing additional sum to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“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 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 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.’’
Agba said a total of 522 ICU beds were provided, amounting to 10 ICU beds in each of the 52 federal medical centres and teaching hospitals across the country.
He said the Federal Government also took measures to support states’ response to the pandemic, adding that in the first instance, 50 per cent of the N500 billion was released to the various responsible agencies.
He added that each of the 36 states, including the FCT were given a billion naira to help fight COVID-19, except for Lagos that got N10 billion and Kano that got N5 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 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 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.
He said this was to stimulate the economy and prevent job loss, adding that the plan included supporting micro small and medium enterprises through survival funds.
He said this provision included MSME guaranteed uptake simulation scheme that was to sustain 300,000 jobs in 100,000 MSME by generating uptake and priority products, extending payroll supports and establishing facilities in all six geopolitical zones.
He said the establishment of the MSME survival fund was to also sustain 700,000 jobs in 140,000 MSME and 1500 self-employed individuals through grants in all six geo political zones.
Agba said the government also provided over N12 billion mass rural electrification and solar power and N60 billion for road construction and rehabilitation across the country.
He added that the public works programmes recruited 1000 persons per local government for the 36 states and the FCT resulting in 774,000 persons being employed.
Agba, among others, said there were provisions targeted at the agric sector to ensure food and job security and to achieve this, government plans included mapping of farms and farmers registration, site sampling and creating access roads to markets among others.
Chief Executive Officer, CODE, Hamzat Lawal, said the conference was organised in partnership with BudgiT, to point the torch on the role of state actors, stakeholders, civil society organisations and citizens in the accountability process of the COVID-19 intervention Funds.
Lawal said CSOs were very much concerned with expenditure knowing that there was a short fall of revenue and knowing that there was increase in unemployment.