N10bn not budgeted for Covid-19 vaccine distribution – FG

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The Federal Government on Saturday denied budgeting N10.6 billion for the transportation of the Covid-19 vaccines to the 36 states and the 774 local government areas in the country.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, made the clarifications shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

He said the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has already undertaken to distribute the vaccines to states at no cost to the government.

The NPHCDA chief said: “I mean, I’m hearing this from you for the first time. It doesn’t make any sense and we have communicated very clearly to Nigerians that the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative, has provided a cargo plane that will help deliver the vaccines from Abuja to all states that have functional airports.

“For those that do not have functional airports, there is a delivery van that will convey the vaccines from those airports to the states without functionality.

“I do not see how that is going to cost N10 billion. So there is no truth in that information.

“The truth is what I have told you, which is that CACOVID has taken up the responsibility of delivering the vaccines from Abuja to the states. The only cost we are going to incur is the cost of delivering the vaccines from any airport to nearby states that don’t have functional airports. Clearly, that cannot be N10.6 billion.

“You can do the mathematics on the back of an envelope and you know that it cannot be anything close to a billion naira right.

“So I believe that CACOVID has already identified that cost as something they are going to take off. I do not know how much it’s going to cost them, but that is something that they have already identified as a cost they will bear and we are working together with them.

“So it is not correct to say that the federal government is going to be expending N10.6 billion to transport vaccines to the state. That is incredulous.”

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