COVID-19: States to get $1.5bn stimulus from World Bank

The World Bank has got a proposal of 1.5 billion dollars to states as part economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

Mrs Ahmed briefed State House correspondents on Thursday after the virtual National Economic Council (NEC) meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The first ever virtual NEC meeting and the fourth for the year, was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“The World Bank maintains that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria will lead to severe amplified human and economic cost, which will move the country into a recession,” she said.

“The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate fiscal relief for the FG.

“This will also involve policy-based policy budget support for the Federal Government, focusing on measures to maintain macro financial stability and create fiscal space for proposed stimulus.

“The World Bank package has also got a proposal of 1.5billion dollars for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states and it will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.”

According to her, the immediate fiscal relief for the states will include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by end of September.

She said that by the end of September, the 1.5 billion dollars plan would have been disbursed to the states.

“We are looking at an average of between N150 billion to N200 billion based on the plan to the 36 states.

“These are states that have already made some particular commitments and achievements so that they will be able to get immediate disbursements of parts of these funds.”

Ahmed said that the ministry made a presentation to the council on the structures that the Federal Government was looking at and putting in place, or had put in place to tackle the challenges of COVID-19.

According to her, the country is in a very difficult and challenging time, facing a very significant economic downturn that has not been seen in the history of the country.

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