From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The federal government has disclosed that it released a total of N119.3 billion to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the sum of N10.3 billion was assigned to fast-track the implementation of the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme, the sum of N9 billion was allocated to develop a robust healthcare system to withstand future shocks.
Similarly, an additional N100 billion economic stimulus package was set aside as an incubation fund.
In his keynote address at the launch of the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), in Abuja, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said that the government would equally grant funding to identified local pharmaceutical firms for local drug production.
“We have identified key local pharmaceutical companies that will be granted funding facilities to support the procurement of raw materials and equipment required to boost local drug production and also the provision of credit assistance for the healthcare industry to help a potential increase in demand for healthcare services as well as products. This has led to facilitating conditions for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, as well as healthcare practitioners. All these interventions in the sector were necessary to revamp the healthcare sector and to put it right and put it on the right pedestal to tackle related challenges at the grassroots level.
“It is pertinent to place on record government’s concerted efforts towards improving the lives of ordinary citizens through the social protection programmes, as well as the strengthening of these programmes. In this connection, the National Social Register has been expanded, with over N3 million Nigerians benefiting since 2020” Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said.
Earlier, the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Prince Semiu Adeyemi Adeniran had said that being the 6th round of the survey in Nigeria, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is one of the largest sources of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide, focusing on issues such as health, education, child protection, water and sanitation.
According to him, the survey also serves as a major source of data for assessing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with over 20 per cent of the indicators required for tracking the SDGs being sourced from the exercise.