JUST IN: Buhari approves N6.45bn for 38 oxygen plants to tackle COVID-19

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations across the country in his administration’s bid to enhance the treatment of COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, at the virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

She said the president’s approval of the release of the funds was necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, told the council that the president approved the sum of N55.1 billion in 2018 and that 50 per cent of the sum has since been released to the states and the FCT.

He explained that this was sequel to Buhari’s decision to activate the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund based on the National Health Act.

According to a statement by the Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Federal Government has also allocated N35 billion for 2021 for the Fund.

It recalled that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF or “The Fund”) was established under Section 11 of the National Health Act (NHA Act), as the principal funding vehicle for the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS).

According to the statement, the fund serves to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Funding of the BHCPF would be derived from contributions including — an annual grant from the Federal Government of Nigeria of not less than one per cent (1%) of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) — grants by international donor partners; and funds from any other source.

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