President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has revealed that his administration is in talks with the World Bank to get $30 million to develop a vaccination facility in Nigeria.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, made the announcement in Jos on Saturday during the graduation of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies’ Senior Executive Course 43 participants.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, and other dignitaries attended the ceremony.
“Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant – Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd (with 49 percent owned by the Nigerian government and the rest held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc) plans to start construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year,” the President said through Osinbajo.
“At first, the plant would ‘fill and finish,’ meaning it will import vaccine raw components and then package them for distribution. “Full-scale production is expected to follow.”
Buhari said but for providence and the good policies of his government, the COVID-19 pandemic would have wreaked unimaginable havoc on the Nigerian economy.
He said, “The GDP contracted to -6.10 per cent during the second quarter of 2020; the oil price at one point was about $10 a barrel and then finally settled at about $45 per barrel during the second quarter of 2020.
“Unemployment increased to 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020; the transportation industry fell by 49%; the hotel sector fell by 40%; the education sector fell by 24%; real estate fell by 22%; trade fell by 17%; and construction fell by 40%.”
“Nigeria was in a bad economic state, so the President took two quick moves to help. One was to form a small inter-ministerial committee, led by Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, to quickly work out the consequences and early mitigation strategies for the impending economic shocks.”
“The President’s second rapid action was to direct a team of ministers and interagency leaders to draft a 12-month economic emergency plan, dubbed the Economic Sustainability Plan.”
“We were certain that the government needed to essentially put out a substantial fiscal stimulus package in order to avoid an economic disaster that could persist for years.” Such a plan must include specific goals for preserving and creating jobs, as well as helping businesses that may close and employees who may not be paid during lockdowns, and, of course, healthcare support to lower the COVID-19 caseload. As a result, we quickly proposed a N2.3 trillion stimulus plan.”
Brig. Gen. Chukwuemeka Udaya (retd.) of NIPSS indicated earlier that 85 Senior Executive Course participants graduated during the ceremony.
During the Senior Executive Course, which began in February 2021, the participants visited 14 states in Nigeria, as well as six African nations and five places beyond the continent, according to him.
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