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FG, Global citizen unveils solidarity support fund to fight COVID-19

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO:Twitter

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in partnership with the Global citizen has launched a solidarity support fund to aid the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who officially unveiled the initiative at a virtual teleconference meeting monitored by The Guardian on Thursday said the fund would be used to provide immediate support to the nation’s most vulnerable communities in the fight against COVID-19.

Osinbajo said the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, both in its impact and severity, revealed that the challenge cannot be tackled by the public sector alone, adding that a careful coordination and collaborative efforts was needed to defeat the virus.

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“The Government of Nigeria is delighted that Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), together with the world-leading international advocacy organization Global Citizen, and their partners, has embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle, the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), to provide immediate support to our most vulnerable communities in the fight against COVID-19.

“This stakeholder led-and-resourced mechanism will provide both flexible and rapid response resources to accelerate ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19 in communities across Nigeria -as well as to strengthen health systems in the aftermath of the acute pandemic response”, Osinbajo added

Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed noted that the shock from the effects of Covid-19 had been unusual, as it affects significant elements of both supply and demand.

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Ahmed said the initiative would help the Government in funding Covid-19 response efforts and supply of the necessary, protective and treatment equipment and long term strengthening of healthcare systems.

“How long the impact would be is still difficult to predict. It would depend on the pandemic, and it would depend on the timeliness and effectiveness of our actions”, she stated.

Vice-Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said the support fund was established to provide immediate and long-term support in the fight against COVID-19.

He said the fund would target four core COVID-19 response including supporting the most vulnerable, strengthening the domestic healthcare systems, expanding access to rural and community focused universal healthcare and re-skilling and re-tooling for Nigeria’s Renaissance post COVID-19

He said: ” The COVID 19 pandemic manifests primarily as a global health challenge. It is clear however that its impact far exceeds the health sector. Our efforts, therefore, must not be limited to acute health response.

“We believe that to effectively support Nigeria’s response efforts and to emerge from this as a more resilient nation, our efforts must take an integrated, systems approach at the center of which is a mandate to support our most vulnerable communities.

“Our efforts must ensure that we are able to envision and meet the demands that will emerge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is imperative as the nation adjusts to the realities of a changing economy, transitions to a “new normal” and embraces the Nigeria of the future.

On his part, Managing Director, NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, explained that solidarity fund would enable the expansion of primary health care, thereby improving access, building capacity, and enhancing the resilience of the nation’s health delivery, especially in rural and underserved communities.

According to him, through the partnership, Nigeria would work with Global Citizen to innovate and transform the delivery of services to the Nigerian people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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