By Chijioke OKoronkwo
The National Economic Council (NEC) says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a fresh N656 billion Bridge Financing Facility to the 36 States.
Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this on Thursday at a virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister said that the support was to help state governments to meet their financial obligations, especially the previous budget support facility due for repayment.
According to Ahmed, each state will receive N18.2 billion.
Ahmed said that the bridge facility was being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The approved bridge facility of N656.112 billion will be disbursed in six tranches over a period of six months to the states.
“Expectedly, each of the 36 States will 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,’’ she said.
On July 15, the council had received updates on the budget support facility to states.
At that meeting, Ahmed informed NEC that the deductions for repayment of previous bailout facilities would commence soon.
Subsequently, the states sought further support leading to the idea of bridge financing.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has briefed the council on the status of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
Shuaib said that Nigeria had received over 100 million doses of COVID–19 vaccines from COVAX, AU and some countries, which was sufficient to ramp up vaccination for about 50 per cent of the targeted population.
“The total eligible population of Nigerians for the vaccine is over 111 million.
“Given the availability of vaccines, we have started rolling out a plan to vaccinate 50 percent of Nigerians, 18 years and above by Jan. 31, 2022,’’ he said.
The NPHCDA boss added that there would be a scaling up of over 3,000 health facilities nationwide.
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), also made a presentation to the council.
He said Nigerians must continue to maintain and sustain the COVID-19 response, especially as it entered the holiday period where there would be travels within and outside the country and mass events to herald the holiday season.
“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,” he said.
He added that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 was still the dominant strain of concern in the country.(NAN)