Nigeria’s federal government is working out how to pay for Covid vaccines, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba, has said.
He told THISDAY at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja that the federal government has set up a committee to work out the payment mode for the vaccines, explaining that the committee would determine how the states and the central government would share the cost of the vaccine.
According to figures from the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the federal government will require about N400 billion (about $1.05bn) to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s 211 million population.
Of the amount, N156 billion would be needed in 2021 and N200 billion in 2022.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Infectious Disease Control, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, had also told THISDAY exclusively that the federal government was planning to raise a supplementary budget to tackle the funding gaps for the procurement of the vaccines.
Agba, however, said the committee’s membership was drawn from the presidency, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Health and representatives of the 36 state governments.
He stated that it is after the committee might have concluded its assignment that payment for the vaccines can be sorted out.
He said: “The committee is still meeting and before long, it will finish its assignment. We have representatives of both federal and state governments there. So, it is when they finish and submit their report that we can talk about picking the bill for the COVID-19 pandemic vaccines and the level of commitment of both the federal and state governments in this regard.”
The minister added that the executive will soon present to the National Assembly a supplementary budget for the procurement of the vaccines.
Ehanire had also told the Senate that the country, which had successfully fought polio, would use the same storage facilities (cold chains) to store the vaccine, urging the Senate to have confidence in the plan for the vaccination.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja