Nigeria to set up $1.39bn fund to fight coronavirus

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Nigeria is planning to set up a $1.39bn coronavirus fund to strengthen its healthcare infrastructure to combat the pandemic.

Reuters reports that the Finance Minister; Zainab Ahmed, House of Representatives speaker; Femi Gbajabiamila and Senate President; Ahmad Lawan agreed the fund would pull in cash as loans from various special government accounts and get the rest from grants and loans from multilateral institutions.

“This crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities,” Ahmed said.

Last week, Nigeria’s Central Bank launched a drive to raise 120 billion naira from the private sector to source equipment and infrastructure to fight the pandemic.

The proposed fund would require approval from the National Assembly to borrow the money from special accounts.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said that while the body was on a two-week hiatus aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, it would work to pass a bill to enable the borrowing plan.

“When there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to developmental issues and challenges in the country, we will do so,” Mr. Lawan said.

Nigeria has 224 confirmed cases of coronavirus and five deaths. Lagos State, Ogun State, and Abuja entered a two-week lockdown on Monday aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus.



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