The federal government will pay for vaccination of about 50 percent of the Nigerian population against coronavirus codenamed COVID-19, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has said.
Mrs. Ahmed spoke on Tuesday while answering questions at the virtual public presentation of the 2021 budget.
The Minister gave insight on the finance implication of procuring Covid-19 vaccines by the government.
“First, we are aware that we are expecting donations. As you know, there is a global alliance to support economically weak nations with vaccines. Our understanding of the current plan is that, we will be getting vaccines donations to cover up to 20% of our population.
“But then, the global standards say that to achieve immunity you have to vaccine at least 70% of the population and so there is a 50% of the population that we may be required to pay for their own vaccination.
“There is inter-ministerial committee looking at this matter and the assurance is that government will do whatever is needful to keep the citizens and economy safe even if it means coming back with a supplementary budget,” Ahmed said.
Speaking further, the government, the Minister restated was not keen about locking down the economy again. However, she said government would have no choice but to toe the path if health challenges pose by breach of Covid-19 protocols remain continue unabated.
Her words, “We hope we never have to lockdown the economy like we did before because the impact is very high on the economy, but then if the health challenge becomes so large, and government has no option then that step might be taken.
“But right now, what we are doing as government, is to re-enforce the measures that needed to be taken by government, by companies; by individuals to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the expansion and also obviates the health challenges.
“Currently the vaccines are now out and they are available and Nigeria is in the process of deciding and beginning to acquire its own vaccine so we do hope that a lockdown the type we’ve seen in 2020 will not happen”, she assured.