FG okays N895.5bn supplementary budget for military, COVID-19
*** to borrow N722bn to fund security component ***seeks restructuring of N39bn World Bank loans
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the draft 2021 supplementary budget of N895.5bn to fund military spending and COVID-19.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The budget is principally for the procurement of equipment for the military and COVID-19 vaccines.
The minister revealed that it contains an aggregate sum N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the defense and the security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.
The government said N83.56 billion of the proposed expenditure is set aside in the budget for COVID-19 vaccine procurement to cover 30 million vaccines from Johnson and Johnson and the logistics costs related to the deployment of the vaccines.
Similarly, it has N40 billion provision to take care of the needs for allowances to the health, education sectors and other wage related issues.
There is also N1.69 billion for the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme.
Nigeria’s efforts to acquire more vaccines had recently suffered a set back as donor countries refused to release the vaccine in the wake of the recent pandemic that struck India.
India which had in March, gave Nigeria about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, refused to release more following the recent attacks witnessed by the country.
According to the Minister, “ The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, presented to Council a proposal to seek Council’s approval for the draft Federal Government of Nigeria 2021 Supplementary Budget.
“The Council deliberated on our proposal and approved as follows: Having noted the need for the urgent procurement of vaccines and also the need for funding to ensure that Nigeria is able to meet its commitment under the HIV, the Nigeria Progressive AIDS Programme in State, Council approved that we should be able to proceed to the National Assembly with the bill in the total sum.
“Also, Council noted the urgent need to specifically enhance the capacity of our military and paramilitary agencies to tackle the various security challenges that we currently have in the country, Council on this note approved the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill in an average expenditure of N895,842,462,917.
“The total of this expenditure is made up of at N83.56 billion for COVID-19 vaccine programme, covering 30 million vaccines from Johnson and Johnson and the logistics costs related to the deployment of that 30 million vaccines.
“It also contains the sum of N1.69 billion for the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme that is currently operating in the states and an additional contingency provision of N40 billion under the public service-wide adjustments to take care of the needs for allowances to the health sector, to the education sector and other wage related issues. This is an incremental provision over N100 billion that is already provided in the 2021 budget.
“The Council also approved an aggregate sum N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the Defense and the security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.”
The minister maintained that government will draw from N39.58 billion to finance the supplementary budget just as it will withdraw N135 billion from special levy accounts for the same purpose.
The minister added: “In line with this approval, we have also been given approval to draw down on some existing World Bank loans totaling about N39.58 billion as part of the financing source for this supplementary budget.
“We will be working with the World Bank to restructure some of the existing facilities to realise this N39.58 billion.
“We’ve also been given approval to withdraw N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts to part-fund this supplementary budget, but specifically related to COVID-19 vaccine, salaries and other health-related expenditure as well as the recurrent component of the Defense and Security expenditures.
“Finally, this approval also contains an approval to borrow the sum of 722.53 billion for security expenditures and these are the capital components of the security expenditure in the absence of any other additional supplementary sources of borrowing. This borrowing would be done from the domestic international capital market.”