The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal government has so far spent N502.3 billion to stabilize the economy after being hit by the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sun reports that Ahmed made the disclosure while speaking at the national dialogue on COVID-19 economic impact and assessment of national and states’ recovery plans and policy options in Abuja on Tuesday, August 10. According to the Minister, Nigeria was deeply affected by the pandemic because it was recovering from recession before COVID-19 led to an all-time fall of crude oil prices being the economic pillar of the country.
According to Ahmed, the key interventions the N502 billion was used for include: the establishment of an N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund to finance the upgrade and improvement of healthcare facilities; the creation of a Special Public Works Programme to employ 774,000 people, among others.
“You know that in the 2020 budget, N500 billion was appropriated and it was fully funded. But apart from that, we also have the economic sustainability plan totaling N2.3 billion in the form of intervention funds from the CBN, which means loans are given to the private sector and they pay back later.”she said
Mrs Ahmed, however, disclosed that lessons were learned from the pandemic, especially the urgent need to fix the challenges of the health sector.
According to her, the various challenges plaguing the health sector propelled the incumbent to pursue proactive and people-oriented policies with an emphasis on human capital development and providing critical infrastructure for the well-being of Nigerians.