States to Get N18.2bn Each in Fresh Budget Support Facility

*CBN processing N656bn bridge financing, to spread over six months
*FG targets 50% COVID-19 vaccination, urges strict compliance to protocols ahead of yuletide

Obinna Chima

All of the 36 states in the country are expected to get N18.2 billion each from the fresh N656 billion bridge financing facility that has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The fund is expected to help the state governments meet financial obligations, especially the previous budget support facility due for repayment.

This was disclosed yesterday at the National Executive Council’s (NEC) 121st meeting (10th in 2021), which was held virtually and was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with state governors, Federal Ministers, the Central Bank Governor, and other senior government officials in attendance.

Accordinf to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, informed the Council that the bridge facility was being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The fund would be disbursed in six tranches over a period of six months to the states.
Each of the 36 states would have a total loan amount of N18.225 billion; with a 30-year tenor, and a 2-year moratorium at an interest rate of nine per cent.
“The facility is to help the States afford the repayment of previous bailout facilities guaranteed for them by the federal government,” it added.

The council had July 15th, 2021, received updates on the budget support facility to states. At that meeting, the Finance Minister had informed the council that the deductions from state governments would commence soon as repayment for the previous bailout from the CBN. Subsequently, the states sought further support leading to the idea of bridge financing.
Ahmed had on Monday disclosed that the president had approved the facility, saying it was meant to cushion the effects of their resumption in the repayment of the three federal government bailout facilities namely the Salary Bailout, Excess Crude facility and Budget Support facility.

“Government will also continue to provide other financing options to states in the form of concessionary loan facilities to support the development of vital sectors of the economy such as health, agriculture and SMEs aimed to complement the states in fighting the pandemic, creating the needed job for the people and alleviating poverty.
“The combined effect of these policies would assist in addressing the current security and other socio-economic challenges confronting the nation,” she had explained.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning gave the Council an update on the Excess Crude Account which according to her stood at $60, 860,309.33 as of November 15th November; while the Stabilisation Account was N27,103,662,581.25 as of same date.

Similarly, Ahmed revealed that the balance of the Development of Natural Resources Account also stood at N60, 884,460,981.23 as of November 15th.
Furthermore, the statement also revealed that during the NEC meeting, the Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, informed the Council on the Status of the country’s COVID-19 Vaccine roll-out.

Shuaib noted that Nigeria had received over 100 million doses of COVID–19 vaccines (from COVAX, African Union, other countries) which he said was sufficient to ramp up vaccination for about 50 per cent of the targeted population.
The total eligible population of Nigerians for the vaccine was over 111 million, he added.

“Given the availability of vaccines, we have started rolling out a plan to vaccinate 50 per cent of Nigerians, 18 years and above by January 31st, 2022,” the NPHCDA DG said, adding that there would be a scaling up of over 3,000 health facilities nationwide.

In his presentation to the Council on states’ performance report on COVID-19, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said Nigerians must continue to maintain and sustain the COVID-19 response, especially as it enters the holiday period where there will be anticipated travels within and outside the country, as well as mass events to herald the holiday season.

Adetifa said the country should “maintain visibility of the outbreak by testing, continuing to encourage adherence to public health and social measures, encourage vaccination and address vaccine hesitancy.”
The DG, NCDC added that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 was still the dominant strain of concern in the country.
According to Adetifa, the number of COVID-19 cases presently was 213,321; No of Cases tested – 3,440,172; Active Cases -4,142; Discharged Cases – 206,206 and number of deaths was put at 2,173

The council was informed on the global situation of Covid-19 with over 251 million cases and over five million deaths recorded.
In Nigeria, the NCDC boss revealed an increase in case fatality ratio (CFR) from 1.4 per cent in week 44 to 14.3 per cent in week 45. He said Lagos’ contribution to caseload declined to 10 per cent, while Plateau’s proportionate contribution increased.
“Over the last four weeks, weekly cases have been declining in 11 states, increasing across two states. Monthly detection of variants of concern in Nigeria: Delta strain is still dominant,” he explained.

In terms of the current Cholera situation in the country, the NCDC boss put the suspected number of cases at 100,157 recorded in 32 states and the FCT, while the number of deaths was put at 3,449
“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response. Six states reported 78 suspected cases in week 44 – Borno (32) and Kebbi (20) accounts for 67 per cent of 78 suspected cases. Rapid response teams to be deployed to Adamawa, Borno, Cross-River, Ogun, and Zamfara State,” he added.

Council stressed the need to encourage testing and vaccination and that citizens should adhere to public health and social safety measures, while on cholera, the council called for more investment in sanitation and water hygiene.

“Between now and the 1st quarter of 2022, Nigeria needs to reach 50 per cent of the targeted population by January 2022, in order to ramp up its vaccination. The scaling up of over 3,000 health facilities nationwide. About five per cent of Nigerians have received the first dose while three per cent have received the first and second doses

“The agency is rolling out mass vaccination campaigns in densely populated areas like banks, markets and shopping malls and hard-to-reach population. Lagos has a target of vaccinating four million, while Ogun has a target of two million before Christmas,” the statement added.

It also revealed that the NPHCDA would soon rollout a means to validate all vaccination cards, as it was gathered that some persons were getting the cards without vaccination.
The statement also revealed that Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State briefed the council about how states could benefit from the work of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

NEC therefore recommended that NASENI should focus on providing reversed engineering on certain key components of machinery useful to Nigeria; its operation should be guided by its mandates to avoid duplication of efforts; that Nigeria needs to see inventions on specific issues as such, regular updates are needed in order to keep track of NASENI’S operations; that NASENI should have a limited mandate as such, its mandate is undergoing review and the Vice President asked the committee to come up with a framework for NASENI’s operations, monitoring, and quarterly updates to NEC.

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