Zainab Ahmed

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has met with leaders of the National Assembly over the establishment of a N500bn COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

The meeting was a follow-up to one held last week between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ahmed said, “What we are proposing is an establishment of a N500bn COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This Fund that we are proposing, that should be created, will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government as well as the Federation have, to be able to pull this N500bn.”

The minister said in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money will be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund is also expected to be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral Institutions.

She added, “Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states.

“We know that there will be 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.”

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the meeting was in fulfilment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis.

He said, “Just like we told Nigerians, when there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to developments issues and challenges in the country, we will do so.”

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