COVID-19: FG provides N102bn intervention in healthcare sector, says Finance Minister

The Federal Government has provided N102.5 billion in resources for direct interventions in the country's healthcare sector, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has said.

Ahmed made this known at a news conference on fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock in Abuja on Monday.

She explained that of this sum, N6.5 billion had already been made available to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for critical expenditure.

She stated that the Federal Government remained committed to supporting the states in these difficult times, particularly those states that were currently battling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, Lagos State has already been provided with N10 billion in emergency funding.

She stated that as the situation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other states at the forefront of the government's efforts unfolds, explicit criteria were to be agreed with the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC to determine when funds would be released to the affected states and the FCT.

"More funds are to be provided from the proposed COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund to address emerging and priority funding needs as these arise.

'To complement these initiatives, we are taking steps to activate, release and, where necessary, enhance the hazard allowances provided in the remuneration structure of the federal health sector workers. The Federal Government enjoins the affected states to take similar measures.

"We take this opportunity to recognise the patriotism and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare workers, whose critical roles in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic place their health and lives at risk.

"We thank all of you for your heroic efforts to protect your fellow citizens from disease and death. The Federal Government hereby assures our frontline healthcare workers of adequate insurance, compensation and support during, and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic."

"I wish to reassure our citizens and residents that the Federal Government remains committed to working closely with the National Assembly, the State Governments, Multilateral Organisations, the Donor Community, and the International Community at large, to alleviate the suffering of our people due to the ongoing economic and healthcare challenges.

"I would like to particularly appreciate the extensive understanding and support that we have received from our development partners, especially the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank in our efforts to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis" she added.

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