President Muhammadu Buhari has written the House of Representatives to approve N894.842 billion supplementary budget to fund COVID-19 drugs and procurement of weapons for the Armed Forces.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker and read yesterday at plenary, the President said: “It is with pleasure that I forward herewith Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021 for the kind consideration and approval by the House of Representatives.
“Let me seize this opportunity, to express my deep gratitude, for the cooperation and support of the leadership and honourable members of the House of Representatives in our collective efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and address the various security and other challenges facing the country.
“It has become necessary to prepare the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, considering the urgent need to make provision for procurement and administration of COVlD-19 vaccines. The availability of COVlD-19 vaccines and the procurement terms were still uncertain as at the time of finalising the 2021 budget. Hence, there was no provision in the 2021 Appropriation Act for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
“However, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) have now developed a COVID-19 vaccine programme for the country. Under the vaccine programme, 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians are to be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022.
“In addition, our security and law enforcement agencies urgently need to procure additional equipment and other resources in response to the prevalent security challenges across the country.
“The Ministry of Defence has carefully scrutinised these procurement needs, which the military authorities claim to represent the minimum requirements to secure our country and address current external and internal security challenges.
“Furthermore, additional funds are required to meet our commitment to treat additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme in States (NCAPS), as the amount provisioned in the 2021 Appropriation Bill for this purpose was inexplicably cut by the National Assembly.
“In order to address the urgent problem of oxygen availability in the country and avoid the potential loss of lives, provision was made for the procurement and installation of new oxygen plants nationwide and repairs of oxygen plants in FCT hospitals.
“It is also necessary to provide additional funds for Public Service Wage Adjustment to cater for sundry wage-related issues in the Health and other sectors, which, if not resolved, can add to the prevalent sense of instability in the polity.
“The Supplementary Budget request is for N895,842,465,917 only.”
“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83.56 billion required for the COVlD-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans (which would be restructured) as well as other grants totaling US$113.22 million (see Annexure 3).
“The balance of N37.93 billion required for COVlD-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures, totaling N41.69 billion, and the N48.20 recurrent component of defence/security expenditure, will be funded by drawing N135 billion from some Special Reserve /Levy Accounts, which will be captured as revenues to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We propose to fund the balance of N722.40 billion for capital expenditure on defence/security and capital supplementation from new borrowings, in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources.
“Understandably, needs currently abound in many other sectors. However, we have limited the supplementary budget proposal to just these critical and emergency areas of need due to our severe fiscal constraints. All other needs would be deferred to the 2022 budget, which we plan to present in September of this year.
“Given the urgency of the request, I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious legislative action on the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021.”