US Govt Pegs Financial Assistance to Nigeria at $32.8m

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The United States government has pegged its financial assistance to Nigeria to the tune of $32.8 million to boost the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure of its financial assistance to Nigeria shot up by $11.4 million in May compared to the total of $21.4 million it spent as at April, 2020.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Leonard, who made this disclosure yesterday in a telephonic press conference with select journalists, said it was part of the US government’s humanitarian and health response to the pandemic.

The assistance, which was channeled through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State, is part of the $237 million the US had spent in Africa battling the pandemic.

The teleconference was focused on the pandemic in Nigeria and US government’s response and assistance.

She further disclosed that over the years, out of the more than $8 billion the United States government has given to Nigeria, $5.2 billion of the money was channeled to the health sector.

She said: “In Nigeria, that’s up to $32.8 million. There is more in the pipeline, almost a comparable sum as we think about the different ways that we can partner Nigeria.

“This, of course, is in addition to our regular assistance portfolio here which tends to be very heavily weighted towards health, whether PEPFAR or maternal/child health or other things.”

“The support we’ve been giving to COVID-19 is a lot in the health sector, but it’s not only the health sector, we are dealing with economic impacts and other things.

“Worldwide, I think the estimate that the US government is spending about $2.4 billion on COVID-19 response.

“If you add in the U.S private and philanthropic sector, universities, faith-based organisations, charitable organisations, and non-governmental organisations, the total is almost three times that, it’s $6.5 billion.”

On the issue of ventilators, she said the United States government is working on fulfilling its promise to send to Nigeria as part of its assistance to help the country contain the pandemic.

Stressing that she does not have an arrival date or specifics about it, the ambassador however said the national Security Council and USAID group back in Washington are working on fulfilling that request.

She said: “We already have a very robust US government financial and tactical response to COVID, the two presidents talked in particular about what other equipment needs we might be able to address.”