The National Assembly has asked the Federal Ministry of Health to suspend further action on plans to spend the sum of N10 billion released by the Federal Ministry of Finance to fund the production of Covdi-19 vaccines.
This follows the dissatisfaction of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health with the explanation of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on how to utilize the N10 billion.
According to a report from Channels, this disclosure was made by the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, during an interaction between members of the committee and the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Ehanire was at the meeting with other representatives which includes the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Director-General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency Faisal Shuaib.
What the Chairman National Assembly Joint Committee on Health is saying
Oloriegebe said the committee is dissatisfied with the explanation of the Minister and has directed that the money should not be spent until the Ministry can state clearly, what the money will be used for.
He said, “This N10billion is just given to you, with due respect, with what you have given to us, you don’t have a specific detailed plan for it. Our decision, for now, is that you can’t spend it (the money) until you provide us with a satisfactory answer. Once you provide us with the details then we will invite all the necessary persons.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, a few days, during one of the briefings of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 revealed that the sum of N10 billion had been released for the local production of Covid-19 vaccine.
- He said the money was part of an agreement between the Federal Government and a foreign partner, May and Baker plc for the production of bio vaccines and added that the health ministry is acting on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and the foreign partner for the production of the bio vaccines.
- Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the Joint Committee said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 2nd of March 2021, 479 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 156,496 confirmed cases.
On the 2nd of March 2021, 479 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 156,496 cases have been confirmed, 134,551 cases have been discharged and 1,923 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 1.54 million tests have been carried out as of March 2nd, 2021 compared to 1.49 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 2nd March 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 156,496
- Total Number Discharged – 135,136
- Total Deaths – 1,923
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,544,008
According to the NCDC, the 479 new cases are reported from 22 states- Lagos (153), Enugu (75), Rivers (50), FCT (40), Kaduna (18), Ebonyi (17), Plateau (17), Edo (17), Borno (16), Oyo (12) Kano (11), Abia (10), Cross River (10), Taraba (9), Nasarawa (7), Bauchi (4), Bayelsa (3), Delta (3), Ekiti (2), Niger (2), Ogun (2) and Akwa Ibom (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 56,001, followed by Abuja (19,274), Plateau (8,911), Kaduna (8,531), Oyo (6,746), Rivers (6,544), Edo (4,607), Ogun (4,398), Kano (3,764), Ondo (2,983), Kwara (2,931), Delta (2,576), Osun (2,433), Nasarawa (2,234), Enugu (2,078), Gombe (2,051), Katsina (2,030), Ebonyi (1,881), Anambra (1,726), and Abia (1,530).
Akwa Ibom has recorded 1,519 cases, Imo (1,497), Borno (1,292), Bauchi (1,232), Benue (1,188), Niger (917), Taraba (813), Ekiti (804), Bayelsa (772), Sokoto (769), Adamawa (762), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (377), Cross River (334), Yobe (268), Zamfara (219), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.
Peter Obi urges FG to beg manufacturers, rich nations for COVID-19 vaccines
Obi urged the FG to consider appealing to rich nations, drug manufacturers for vaccines instead of spending billions of nairas to procure them.
Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has appealed to the Federal Government to take a second look at their stipulated Covid-19 budget and rather, consider begging drug manufacturers and rich nations for the vaccines.
The former Vice Presidential candidate while speaking in an interview on Channels Television, lamented on what he felt was an over-the-top and ludicrous budget for the Covid-19 vaccines and advised that the FG should instead, appeal to manufacturers for the vaccine.
Obi, speaking on the FG Procurement Budget for the Covid-19 vaccine explained that it makes little sense for Nigeria to apportion 80% of its health budget for the procurement of Covid-19 only. He also stated that sufficient Covid-19 vaccine for the country can be purchased for a price way below the figure being put forward by the FG.
“They said they need N400bn. Our Budget for health this year is N547bn and you are saying that you need 80% of that for vaccine procurement. Assuming that’s what we are going to use the money for. I have checked the vaccine we need to have 70% which WHO has stipulated that if they receive it is okay. The quantity we need cannot cost us more than N150bn. It might be less because there are people who are willing to give vaccines for free,” Obi said.
Mr. Obi took it a step further by advising the FG on how to go about the quest to get Covid-19 vaccines at a much cheaper rate. He believes the country should own up to its poor status and demand for help unashamedly. This, he said, will reduce the amount the FG will pay for the Covid-19 vaccines.
“Why don’t we beg manufacturers to donate, saying to them that we don’t have anything. We can go kneel and beg them saying please give us the vaccines. We are from a poor country. Give us a discount. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are poor. It is not a crime. Because you are poor,” Obi added.
Since pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers began discovering and manufacturing vaccines against the novel Covid-19, there have been concerns that the poorer nations might be left far behind in the race to acquire the vaccines.
In case you missed it
- Nigeria received its first batch of Covid 19 vaccines from India today. The first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from India landed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday.
- About 3.94 million doses of the vaccines arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja via an Emirates flight.
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