By Tony Ailemen
ABUJA – Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday said the federal government would raise a supplementary budget in March to cover cost of procuring vaccines and vaccination of Nigerians against the coronavirus.
Ahmed disclosed this at the maiden special media briefing by the MDAs organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister, who noted that there is no provision in the 2021 budget to fund the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines, said government will also carryout a mid year budget review in June.
“There will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March relating the COVID-19 pandemic but we will also have a mid-year review like we did last year of the budget and if at the time we do the review and there is a need to go back to do any amendment for supplementary budget, at that time we will take that decision, if not, we will just report the review”
On World Bank Support Facility for the 2021 budget, Zainab disclosed that Nigeria closed 2020 by being able to realise $3.4billion from IMF, $600million from AfDB.
According to her, the policy to mandated MDAs to procure vehicles from local manufacturers will soon be sent to the Federal Executive Council FEC for approval.
She said the measure was part of government plans to control inflation in the country.
Already,government had reduced duties on imported vehicles from 35 to 5% with a view to lessening the high cost of transportation, which in turn, impact of inflation.
The minister revealed that local auto manufacturers produce only 50,000 vehicles per annum as against annual requirements of about 750,000
Zainab who traced current food inflation which is 16.47% to transport costs, said the decision to reduce duty on imported vehicles was aimed at reducing inflation.
According to her, patronising locally made vehicles will mitigate against dumping due to reduced duties.
The minister affirmed that the federal government is committed to purchasing locally made goods and vehicles and would engage with state governments to ensure that they do same so as to encourage local production.
On the new import duty policy, she said that the Nigeria Customs Service has already directed all its outposts to commence its implementation.