The World Bank has got a proposal of 1.5 billion dollars to states as an economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said.

Ahmed briefed State House correspondents on Thursday after the virtual National Economic Council (NEC) meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The first-ever virtual NEC meeting and the fourth for the year was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

She said, “The World Bank maintains that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria will lead to severe amplified human and economic cost, which will move the country into a recession.

“The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate financial relief for the Federal Government

“This will also involve policy-based policy budget support for the Federal Government, focusing on measures to maintain macro-financial stability and create fiscal space for the proposed stimulus.

“The World Bank package has also got a proposal of 1.5billion dollars for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states and it will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.’’

According to her, the immediate financial relief for the states will include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by the end of September.

She said that by the end of September, the 1.5 billion dollars plan would have been disbursed to the states.

“We are looking at an average of between N150billion to N200billion based on the plan to the 36 states. These are states that have already made some particular commitments and achievements so that they will be able to get immediate disbursements of parts of these funds.’’

Ahmed said the ministry made a presentation to the council on the structures that the Federal Government was looking at and putting in place, or had put in place to tackle the challenges of COVID-19.

According to her, the country is in a very difficult and challenging time, facing a very significant economic downturn that has not been seen in the history of the country.

She said that the global economy was also facing the sharpest reversals since the great depression as it had both health and economic consequences.

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