She said the expenditure represents part of the N8.26 trillion spent on capital projects, debt servicing and payment of salaries and pensions in 2020.
The Coronavirus pandemic broke out in China in 2019 but Nigeria recorded its first case in February 2020. Nigeria infection cases have already scaled the 100,000 marks.
Although Ahmed, at a virtual public presentation of the approved 2021 budget, did not give a breakdown of how that money was expended, the Federal Government had initially claimed it introduced measures to curb the spread of the virus including the provision of palliatives to cushion its economic effects on Nigerians.
The minister did not also state if donations from well-meaning Nigerians and international donors when the pandemic broke out were also captured in the figure she presented.
As at September 2020, the Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris claimed the Federal Government spent N36.3 billion public funds and donations from the Covid-19 Eradication Support Accounts in the fight against the disease in four months.
“The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 spent N22 billion, 36 states spent N7 billion for the deployment of assets in support of Covid-19 operations and Nigerian Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment,” he said.
Big donors including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and Access Bank PLC contributed funds for the fight against COVID-19.
It will be recalled that apart from direct funding for the curbing of Coronavirus such as upgrading the health facilities including establishment of isolation centres, provision of drugs and hazard payment for health workers, the Federal Government has also claimed to have provided stimulus packages that were targeted at business owners and the most vulnerable in the society.
By Oba Darasimi