Nigeria’s federal government has prepared a supplementary budget of N895.84 billion for the provision of COVID-19 pandemic vaccines and military hardware, which it will soon present to the National Assembly.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, told reporters on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja that the council also approved the borrowing of N722.53 billion to finance security expenditure.
She stated that the meeting approved 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in an average expenditure of N895,842,462,917.
According to her, the supplementary budget will take care of the procurement of 30 million vaccines and the logistics for their deployment, including further enhancement of the capacity of the nation’s defence.
She said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented to council a proposal to seek council’s approval for the draft Federal Government of Nigeria 2021 Supplementary Budget. The council deliberated on our proposal and approved as follows:
“Having noted the need for the urgent procurement of vaccines and also the need for funding to ensure that Nigeria is able to meet its commitment under the HIV, the Nigeria Progressive AIDS Programme in State, the council approved that we should be able to proceed to the National Assembly with the bill in the total sum.
“Also, the council noted the urgent need to specifically, enhance the capacity of our military and paramilitary agencies to tackle the various security challenges that we currently have in the country, council on this note approved the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in an average expenditure of N895,842,462,917.
“The total of this expenditure is made up of at N83.56 billion for COVID-19 vaccine programme, covering 30 million vaccines from Johnson and Johnson and the logistics costs related to the deployment of that 30 million vaccines. It also contains the sum of N1.69 billion for the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme that is currently operating in the states and an additional contingency provision of N40 billion under the public service-wide adjustments to take care of the needs for allowances to the health sector, to the education sector and other wage-related issues. This is an incremental provision of over N100 billion that is already provided in the 2021 budget.
“The council also approved an aggregate sum of N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the defence and the security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.”
She added that the budget will be financed through already approved loans from the World Bank and special reserve levy accounts.
She said: “In line with this approval, we have also been given the approval to draw down on some existing World Bank loans, totalling about N39.58 billion, as part of the financing source for this supplementary budget. We will be working with the World Bank to restructure some of the existing facilities to realise this N39.58 billion. “We’ve also been given the approval to withdraw N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts to part-fund this supplementary budget, but specifically related to COVID-19 vaccine, salaries and other health-related expenditure as well as the recurrent component of the defence and security expenditures”.
Ahmed added that the council also authorised the federal government to borrow N722.53 billion for security expenditures “and these are the capital components of the security expenditure in the absence of any other additional supplementary sources of borrowing and the borrowing would be done from the domestic international capital market.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja