President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to approve N895, 842, 465, 917 as 2021 supplementary budget. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had dropped the hint at an earlier interface with the lawmakers.
She had also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) sanctioned the amount, adding that N83.56 billion of the sum was for COVID-19 vaccines, including 30 billion doses from Johnson and Johnson and related logistics for their deployment.
Reading Buhari’s letter yesterday at plenary after a two-week break, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated that a substantial part of the money had been earmarked for procurement of military hardware to prosecute the war against insurgency and banditry.
According to him, the Federal Government is also using part of the money to purchase coronavirus jabs and address other health-related needs.
The letter read in part: Dear Distinguished Senate President, submission of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021.
“It is with pleasure that I forward herewith, Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021 for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.
“The supplementary budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.
“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83.56 billion required for the COVID-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be structured, as well as other grants totalling $113.2 million.
“The balance of N37.93 billion required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.6 billion and N48.2 billion recurrent component of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts.
“We propose to fund the balance of N722.4 billion for capital expenditure on defence and security and capital supplementation from new borrowings in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.”
IN another development, the NCD Alliance Nigeria has called on the Nigerian leader to tackle the job and health problems of People Living With Non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCDs) nationwide.
The alliance’s president, Dr. Sonny Kuku, who made the appeal at the media launch of the PLWNDs’ newsletter yesterday in Lagos, noted than that 70 per cent of global deaths come from NCDs with over 60 per cent of the PLWNCDs out of jobs.
He added that three-quarters of these deaths are from cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetics, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health, noting they occur mostly in countries like Nigeria, with four out of five dying before attaining 50 years due to poor healthcare systems and inability to capture the affected people in job platforms.
Kuku thanked Nigerians who have been against discrimination and other stigmatisations meted to this special set of persons. Also speaking, the Executive Director of NCD Alliance Nigeria, Prof. Akin Osibogun, stated that government should prioritise PLWNCDs in job placement and find ways of including them in people-centered healthcare and decision-making processes.
The group noted that the newsletter, which captured the plights of these special people, was produced by eight of them drawn from four states and trained by it.
In a chat with The Guardian, Lawal Kallam, a stroke sufferer, said the publication is a call on government to consider job openings for them, as many of his colleagues have resorted to roadside begging.
The editor, Michael Uchunor, appealed to the President to check discrimination across all levels and build educational facilities for the patients, even as he encouraged the victims to take medication for better chances of survival.