The Federal Government, yesterday, asked the National Assembly to approve the establishment of ₦500 billion Coronavirus Disease Crisis Intervention Fund.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure when she met with the leadership of the National Assembly in Abuja.
The meeting was a follow-up meeting to the one held last Wednesday between the National Assembly leadership, and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.
While presenting the request Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said what they are proposing is an establishment of a ₦500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund which will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation have, to be able to pull out this amount.
The finance minister further said that in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money would be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund is also expected to be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.
Mrs. Ahmed said that the Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve healthcare facilities not only in the states, but to provide intervention to the states.
She added that they need to know that there will be a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for would be provided.
The President of the Senate at the meeting openly faulted the sharing of ₦20,000 magnanimity as palliatives to select families across the nation, to cushion the effects of the lockdown, which President Muhammadu Buhari ordered in Lagos, Ogun , and the Federal Capital Territory, saying there was an urgent need to redefine the Social Intervention Programmes (SIP) to make it more efficient.
Pointing out that the meeting was in fulfillment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis, the government will be responsive to developmental issues and challenges in the country.