COVID-19 support fund: World Bank exempts Nigeria from first batch of beneficiaries

Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja

Nigeria has been excluded from the first set of beneficiaries of the World Bank’s COVID-19 Emergency Health Support programme, which is aimed at strengthening developing countries’ response to the pandemic.

The first operations of the COVID-19 support programme was launched on Thursday, following approval by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

Nigeria was conspicuously missing in the list of beneficiaries in a statement posted on the bank’s website, despite the country being one of the worst hit among developing countries.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp decline in the price and demand of crude oil, Nigeria’s major source of revenue.

Also, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is rising steadily, with about 200 infections recorded since February 27.

There are fears that the country’s health care system will be overstretched by the pandemic, and on Thursday, the Federal Government attempted to beg for ventilators, a key facility used in caring for coronavirus patients, from an American billionaire, Elon Musk.

Twenty-five countries were listed as beneficiaries of the COVID-19 support programme, which involves projects amounting to a total of $1.9bn.

(PUNCH)

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