The Federal Government has said it would prepare a supplementary budget to cover COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this at the State House briefing held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
Ahmed also revealed that the first batch of the expected COVID-19 vaccines will arrive the country next week.
She said: “There will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March relating the COVID-19 pandemic but we will also have a mid-year review like we did last year of the budget.
“If at the time we do the review and there is a need to go back to do any amendment for supplementary budget, at that time, we will take that decision; if not, we will just report the review.
“We have a provision in the 2021 budget for immunisation. We are already releasing money to the health authorities to start operation in the first batch of vaccines that is going to arrive the country in one week.
“But what we have in the budget is not enough, so we are working with the health authorities to provide a plan that will be taken to the President for approval and to be taken to the National Assembly as a supplementary budget specifically for COVID -19 vaccination.”
According to the minister, Nigeria’s borrowing is not too high despite the varied opinion by some Nigerians.
“There is a lot of sensitivity in Nigeria about the level of borrowing by the government and it is not misplaced.
“I said earlier that the level of borrowing is not unreasonable, it is not high. The problem we have is that of revenue. So, what we need to do is to increase revenue to be able to enhance our debt to GDP obligation capacity,” she said.
She explained that if the government decided not to borrow and therefore do not build rails and major infrastructure until revenue rises enough, the country would regress.
Ahmed said borrowing is a decision that every government has to take.
She said the country’s total borrowing as of December 31, 2020, at 21.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She said as of 2019, the debt to GDP ratio was 19.2percent, adding that only two per cent was added.