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Coronavirus: World Bank releases N30bn to Nigeria

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Nigeria Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed Federation Account

The World Bank has released Nigeria’s remaining N30,094,000,000.00 billion ($82million) in its vaults to enable her strengthen its health facilities as it battles coronavirus.

Also, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said yesterday that it was considering the country’s request for financial assistance under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) for the purpose of stabilising the nation’s threatened economy.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had said at press briefing on Monday that the Federal Government would be asking for $3.4billion that Nigeria had saved with the IMF as part of efforts to mobilize all available resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the nation’s economy and the citizenry.

Ahmed also had disclosed that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) “has access to a Regional Disease Surveillance Systems (REDISSE) facility from the World Bank in the sum of $90 million, out of which $8 million has been drawn.”

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She added that government requested to fully draw down on the outstanding balance of $82 million.

The government, according to her, “ also requested additional financing in the sum of $100 million from the REDISSE project to meet COVID-19 emergency needs in all the 36 states and the FCT, through the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.”

The World Bank issued a statement to on the approval and release of the $82m Tuesday in Abuja.

The bank said it was approached by the Federal Government to provide a multi-pronged package of support over the next six months to strengthen the country’s preparedness for the immediate health crisis that has been caused by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

According to the statement, the world bank would also provide the government with budget support for a pro-poor stimulus package and long term recovery of the economy.

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A part of the statement reads, “Efforts to protect livelihoods and support local economic activity over the next 18 to 24 months will be critical in mitigating the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Together with partners, the bank is discussing with the states and relevant federal agencies how best to protect livelihoods of poor and vulnerable families and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to enable recovery.

“Through the REDISSE project, about 10.6 million has already been committed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in strengthening states’ emergency operation centres, building, renovating and providing equipment for treatment centres across eight states.

“It will also cover bringing in essential medical supplies and drugs, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers.”

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