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States to get N1bn each as FG line up N36bn for COVID-19 third wave 

Each state of the Federation will receive N1bn each from the federal government as part of measures to curb the rising COVID-19 cases and prevent the third wave of the virus.

The Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Joseph Ngbea, who disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, stated that the Federal Government promised to release the fund before the end of this month.

Ngbea also indicated that state commissioners of health would meet next week with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health officials.

It was gathered that the meeting, would among others, map out ways to shore up testing, which has been recorded to have dropped by 29 per in the last one month.

This came to the fore as the country recorded 404 cases on Tuesday, the highest in the last one month.

Joseph Ngbea,

No fewer than 1,276 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the country between May 27 and June 27.

But between June 27 and July 27; 4,261 cases were recorded, representing an increase of 2,985 (233.93%) over 1,276 cases recorded between May 27 and June 27.

Recall that the World Bank Board of Directors had on August 7, 2020, approved a $114.28 financing to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with a specific focus on state-level responses.

According to the global body, through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project, the government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 and the Federal Capital Territory as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.

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It stated the grants would be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies which were in line with the Federal Government guidelines and strategies.

At the peak of the first wave of the virus, the Federal Government in March last year approved the release of the N10bn grant to Lagos State to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ngbea, on Wednesday, told The PUNCH that the Federal Government would release the last tranche of COVID 19 funds which would be channeled to specific areas of anti-coronavirus war.

He stated, “The Federal Government is already assisting us.  It is going to release another N1bn to each of the states as further support.

“The N1bn to each of the states is expected to be released by the end of July. That was what they told us. Already we are meeting in Abuja next week.”

The commissioner said that the money is the last tranche of COVID 19 adding that there are specific areas the money should be channeled to.”

According to him, the Federal Government officials will together with their counterparts in each state plan how the money would be spent.

He stated, “The Federal Ministry of Health will send delegates and sit down with all the stakeholders in the health sector and fashion out what the money should be used for. This is what gives us an annual operation plan and it must be followed diligently. You cannot deviate from it. If it is for operational vehicles or building of a laboratory, it must be channeled to such.”

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