Governors Set up Committee on Procurement of COVID-19 Vaccine

  • NGF disassociates self from Yahaya Bello’s comments

By Chuks Okocha

The Nigeria Governors Forum has set up a committee of experts to advise on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.

Also, the governors have dissociated themselves from the comments of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello that the vaccine would kill people.

A communique of the governors meeting signed by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, (NGF) Dr. Kayode Fayemi said, “Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts led by Professor Oyewale Tomori to advice state governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country.”

After the meeting, the communique said the chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, briefed State governors on a meeting with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, on the rollout of the COVAX facility which is a global risk-sharing mechanism co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries.

According to the communique “Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.”

The communique said that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has indicated that vaccines will be administered in four (4) phases, based on vaccine type and availability, initially for frontline health workers, then the aged (55yrs and above), persons with underlying medical conditions and other target groups.

The communique further said that the governors “received briefings from three medical experts including Professor Oyewale Tomori, leading Virologist and former Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Nigeria; Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Dr. Pamela Ajayi Founder/Managing Director Synlab Nigeria (formerly PathCare), President Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and Dr. Egbe Dawodu, Founding Partner of the Anadach Group on the country’s preparedness for the procurement and administration of COVID vaccines and the level of collaboration required from
all stakeholders, including the federal, state governments and the private sector.”

It said, “Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts led by Professor Oyewale Tomori to advice State governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country”.

On the comments by the Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, the communique said. “On the ill-fated pronouncement made by a member of the Forum regarding the Covid-19 vaccine in a national daily, the Forum totally and categorically dissociated itself from the statement, emphasizing that the Forum will continue to be informed and guided by science and will ensure that every decision it takes retains public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest.”

The communique said that the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who is the Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 reported with concern the rising positivity rate amongst those tested for the virus.

It called on Governors to do more to reactivate their health systems, open-up treatment centres and increase partnerships with stakeholder groups in order to improve risk communication and the public adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

According to the communique, the governors received a presentation from the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu and the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, on the Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SUWASH) results-based
financing programme for States.

The communique said that the programme has become necessary given the state of the sector
which has contributed to 73% of Nigeria’s total burden of enteric infections and over 255,000
preventable deaths in the country each year.

Accordingly, the communique said, “State governors consequently committed to increasing budgetary allocation to the sector with the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the World Bank through the US$640 million investment finance and US$60 million technical assistance component
which together will support and incentivize infrastructure investments and strengthen government policies and institutions in the WASH sector.”

The communique said that a presentation was made by Dr. Sarah Alade, Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, on the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and the Medium-Term National
Development Plan (MTNDP) which will succeed Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020.

Also, the communique said that the governors received a presentation from Dimensions Information Technology LLC on a proposed harmonized Traffic Management System for States which is aimed at boosting their internal revenue

The plan, it said, was assigned to a Committee made up of the Governors of Lagos, Niger, Jigawa and Edo State for review and appropriate advice to the Forum.

The communique said that the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki updated State Governors on the Eligibility Criteria for the 2020 States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Annual Performance Assessment (APA) which requires in part that all State governments prepare their FY2021 budgets in line with the National Chart of Accounts (minimum of administrative, economic and function classifications) and that the budgets are approved by their State Houses of Assembly, assented by Governors, and published online by 31st January 2021.

According to the communique, “The Governor stated that all States have already met the second part of the Eligibility Criteria by publishing an IPSAS-compliant 2019 Audited Financial Statement online by August last year. He encouraged States to take advantage of the Technical Assistance being provided by the NGF Secretariat on the domestication of the National Chart of Accounts.”

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