The Federal Government (FG) has concluded plans to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund. The fund was introduced to upgrade healthcare facilities and administration in the country.
The decision was taken after the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed met with the leadership of the National Assembly, led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the National Assembly complex.
It was agreed that the intervention fund will include mopped up resources from various government accounts as well as loans and advances from multilateral organizations.
The fund is also to be used to provide intervention to various state governments and also take care of special public work program that is being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
“Our general view is that the crisis intervention fund would be used to upgrade health care facilities as earlier identified,” Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.
The minister in her presentation said, ‘’We know that there is a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for’’.
“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve healthcare facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states’’, she said.
It could be recalled that the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in collaboration with the Private Sector, set up a relief fund to help fight the coronavirus disease and its impact. CBN announced that a total sum of N19.48 billion has been contributed to the account.
Many Nigerians have expressed doubts about the proper management of these resources as there is no framework or proper monitoring mechanism for the disbursement of those funds. They believe that the process is riddled with corruption.
Meanwhile, the Senate President on his part picked holes in the way and manner the disbursement of the N20,000 social intervention programme was being handled. According to him, time has come for the government to redefine its implementation.