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Minister to Security Chiefs: “Submit supplementary budget estimates for military hardware

Minister to Security Chiefs: “Submit supplementary budget estimates for military hardware

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has tasked the chief of Defence staff and other service chiefs to submit their supplementary budget estimates to cut the delay in procurement of the security equipment.

The minister also blamed the non-submission of the supplementary budget for procurement of the security gears and COVID-19 vaccines to the National Assembly for delaying the delivery.

This is even as she has disclosed that the government has put on hold its plan to build additional primary healthcare centres across the country due to paucity of funds.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday told both the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, whom he met separately in the State House on the need for the National Assembly to give accelerated attention to the procurement of equipment for the security services in the supplementary budget.

The Minister of Finance made the statement while responding to a question by State House Correspondents to give the aggregate amount of the supplementary budget to be submitted to the National Assembly at the end of the weekly Federal Executive (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to her, the finance ministry has met with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor and the service chiefs on the need to have the urgent need to have the estimates for the military hardwares to be procured so as to include it in the proposed supplementary budget.

Ahmed said at that the time of briefing the press, the CDS and the service chiefs were yet to furnish her office with the details but expressed hope that the estimate will come before long.

She said: “For the military hardware, we have met with the Service Chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff. They are supposed to aggregate their request for review amongst themselves and then pass it to Mr President, then it will be sent to us. So we are waiting for the information of the aggregate requirements”.

She said the supplementary budgetary estimate for COVID-19 vaccines prepared by her Ministry and that of health is ready but said that the amount initially voted for the building of primary healthcare centres has been put on hold for now.

According to her, “Sometime in January, the President  based on the request by the Ministry of Health gave an approval  in principle for the Ministry of Health to work with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to prepare and take to the National Assembly a supplementary budget for COVID-19 vaccination.

“The submission that was made to Mr President at that time was in the sum of N399 billion, but included in this N399 billion was a N103 billion for building of primary healthcare centres. So we’ve worked with and met several times with the ministry, we’ve agreed to back out from this building of primary health care centres that can wait till later. So there’s still a provision of N396 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations for 2021 and 2022”.

Ahmed further disclosed that Nigeria was expecting not less than 43 million COVID-19 doses from donors adding that health ministry officials have been mandated to come up with the total number of vaccine donation being expected to guide government in its plans to buy more vaccines for the citizenry.

She said: “There has been some delays because we expected the ministry to confirm the vaccines donation that Nigeria is expecting. We are expecting a total of not less than 43 million doses of vaccines. So they are supposed to find out when those ones will come. Because, if we are going to get back the donated vaccines, and at the speed of the current rollout, we have slow down on what we’re buying ourselves.

“So the ministry is working with partners that are donating this vaccines. So we see the timelines of the donations and see the gap that the government needs to fill in 2021.

“But we have already provided to the ministry funds to enable them roll out the 4 million vaccines that have been brought already into the country, and the vaccination process is ongoing.

“So for us is still work in progress. We hope in the next couple of days, we’ll have clarity on the schedule of vaccines expected from donors, and then we will now be able to firm up what government has to provide for in 2021. And therefore the 2022 component we will provide it during the 2022 appropriations”.

Minister to Security Chiefs: “Submit supplementary budget estimates for military hardware

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