News - January 21, 2021

COVID-19: Nigerian govt. to build 38 new oxygen plants nationwide with N6.45bn

Another N255million approved for repairs of oxygen plants in 5 hospitals

The Federal Government has approved about N6.45 billion for the construction of new oxygen plants in 38 locations nationwide to enhance the supply to COVID-19 patients in need in the country.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed confirmed the release of the money during the first meeting of the year of the National Economic Council in Abuja on Thursday.

The meeting attended by State Governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other senior government officials was presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mrs Ahmed said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen plants as a result of the increased number of patients in need of oxygen due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in the country.

Health Ministry’s briefing
Also, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, told the Council that sequel to the activation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund based on the National Health Act, 50 percent of the N55.1billion approved in 2018 has since been released to the States and the FCT.

Besides, the minister said the Federal Government has also allocated N35billion for the Fund in 2021.

The Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) was established under Section 11 of the National Health Act (NHA Act), as the principal funding vehicle for the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS).

The Fund serves to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Funding of the BHCPF would be derived from contributions including an annual grant from the Federal Government of not less than one percent (1%) of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). grants by international donor partners, and funds from any other source.

Update on federal accounts balances
Other updates at the NEC meeting included account balances as at January 20, 2020 given by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning showed the Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance at $72,411,197.80.

The Stabilization Account balance as at January 19, 2021 was N28, 800, 711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account balance as at January 19, 2021, at N95, 830,729,470.82.

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