Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning disclosed this during a briefing held in Abuja on fiscal measures among other interventions the current administration intends to deploy to reduce the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the minister, about N60 billion was already set aside from the COVID-19 crisis intervention fund for the project, basically for allowances and operational cost.
She noted that the programme had earlier commenced in eight states across the federation and being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), as a pilot special public works programme after presidential approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ahmed added that the president had now approved its extension to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT from October to December 2020.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning are also evaluating how best to extend the Special Public Works Programme, to provide modest stipends for itinerant workers to undertake Roads Rehabilitation and Social Housing Construction,” the Minister said.
“And also 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.”
“Mr President has approved the establishment of a-N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. The establishment of the Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various Special Funds and Accounts, in consultation with and 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 and approved by Mr. President.
“This will help to 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 Mr President,” she added.
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