COVID-19: President Buhari approves over $1bn for Crisis Intervention Fund

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Mohammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a N500 billion ($1,300,492,000) COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

The establishment of this COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various Special Funds and Accounts, in consultation with the approval of the National Assembly.

The N500 billion is proposed to be utilized to:

Upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19;

Finance the Federal Government’s Interventions to support States in improving healthcare facilities;

Finance the creation of a Special Public Works Programme; and

Fund any additional interventions that may be approved by the President.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said that regarding the Special Public Works Program, the President had previously approved a Pilot Special Public Works Programme in eight (8) States to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) from February 2020 to April 2020.

He has now approved that this Programme be extended to all 36 States and the FCT from October 2020 to December 2020.

The selected time frame is to ensure that the Programme is implemented after the planting season is over, and it will result in the employment of about 774,000 Nigerians (that is, 1,000 people per each Local Government).”

N60 billion in allowances and operational costs has been earmarked from the COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund for this initiative.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is also evaluating how best to extend the Special Public Works Programme, to provide modest stipends for iterant workers to undertake Roads Rehabilitation, Social Housing Construction, Urban and Rural Sanitation, Health Extension and other critical services.

This intervention will be undertaken in conjunction with the key Federal Ministries responsible for Agriculture, Environment, Health and Infrastructure, as well as the States, to financially empower individuals who lose their jobs due to the economic crisis.’’

Further details regarding the operation of the N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund will be announced once the consultations with the National Assembly and the key Ministries are concluded.

Suzan O