The Federal Government has sought the approval for a ₦500bn intervention loan to help in the fight against Coronavirus in the country.
The money is to be sourced from expected grants and loans from multilateral institutions.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated this while presenting an executive proposal to “establish a ₦500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund” during a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on Saturday.
Funds from the government’s special accounts would be also be added up so as to meet up with the ₦500bn target.
“Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.
“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,” she said.
Ms Ahmed said that the fund if approved, will take care of special Public Work Programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment(NDE).
While she stressed the need for lawmakers to approve the taking of loans from these special accounts, she assured that the team will return “with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for.”
On his part, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the loan request is critical because the country is in an emergency and time is of the essence.
“So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly,” he said.
“I think time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention Programme, probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go. It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient.”