President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide in to enhance the treatment of COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced this while speaking at the first National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the year presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
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Mrs Ahmed briefed the NEC meeting attended by State Governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other senior government officials on the release of the funds.
She said President Buhari approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in the country.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire informed the Council that sequel to the President’s decision to activate the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund based on the National Health Act, N55.1billion was approved in 2018 and that 50% of the sum has since been released to the States and the FCT.
The Federal Government has also allocated N35billion for 2021 for the Fund.
The finance minister gave updates at the NEC meeting on account balances as at 20th January, 2020, saying Excess Crude Account (ECA) has $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, N28, 800, 711,295.37; and Natural Resources Development Fund Account, N95, 830,729,470.82.
A presidential spokesman, Laolu Akande said the council also received an update from the Vice President who is the Chairman of Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Public Engagements regarding the fallouts of the EndSars protests of last year.