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COVID-19: World Bank releases $82m to Nigeria

Twenty-four hours after the federal government said it will ask the World Bank for the remaining $82million to strengthen public health, the World Bank Group has released the money.

The $82 million dollars is the balance of $90 million World Bank to strengthen the public health response through the Regional Disease Surveillance System Enhancement Project (REDISSE).

The bank issued a statement to this effect on Tuesday in Abuja.

The world bank said it has been 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 will come in the wake of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

The statement said the world bank would also provide the Federal Government with budget support for a pro-poor stimulus package and the long term recovery of the economy.

According to the statement, “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 dollars has already been committed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in strengthening states’ emergency operation centre, building, renovating and providing equipment for treatment centres across eight states.

“And bringing in essential medical supplies and drugs, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers” the bank stated.

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

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

The Government she said “has also requested for additional financing in the sum of US$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.”

This explained, “will enable us to expand the capacity of intensive Care Units (ICUs), enhance laboratory capacity, accelerate the procurement of test kits, strengthen surveillance mechanisms as well as improve information management.”

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