FG denies budgeting N10.6bn for COVID-19 vaccine transportation

 The federal government has denied reports that it had budgeted N10.6 billion for COVID-19 vaccine transportation.

The executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, stated this on Saturday after President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had received doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, at the presidential villa, Abuja.

A report by PUNCH on Saturday, revealed that the federal government had budgeted N10.6 billion for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory.

Shuaib explained that the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), the private sector-led initiative, has already undertaken to distribute the vaccines to states at no expense to the government.

He noted that a cargo plane provided by CACOVID will be used to deliver the vaccines to states with functional airports, while a delivery van will be used for states without functional airports.

“I mean, I’m hearing this from you for the first time. It doesn’t make any sense that on the one hand, we’ve communicated very clearly to Nigerians that the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative, has provided a cargo plane that will help deliver the vaccines from Abuja to all states that have functional airports,” he said.

“For those that do not have functional airports, there is a delivery van that will convey the vaccines from those airports to the states without functionality.

“I do not see how that is going to cost N10 billion. So there is no truth in that information.”

Shuaib noted that the federal will only incur transportation costs to states without functional airports, adding that it cannot be N10.6billion.

“The only cost we’re going to incur is the cost of delivering the vaccines from any airport to nearby states that don’t have functional airports. Clearly that cannot be N10.6 billion,” he said.

” So it is not correct to say that the federal government is going to be expending N10.6 billion to transport vaccines to the state. That is incredulous.”