The Federal Government’s decision to spend N400 billion Naira in purchasing vaccines for the the nation’s fight against covid-19 is seen as prodigal. Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr.Peter Obi, while speaking in Arise Television program, disclosed that there was no transparency in the procurement of the product. “We need to be transparent in vaccine procurement. The World Health Organisation mentioned that if you can inject 70 percent of your population, that is okay.
”70% of Nigeria is about 140 million, so we are looking for 140 million doses. Considering that some other people will give us some for free, we do not need more than 120 million doses. But even if we are buying 140 million, Nigeria just needs about three hundred and eighty-something million dollars which are about N150bn to buy the vaccine.
“Now I hear that we are looking for N400bn, well I am loss. Our budget this year for health is N547bn. I don’t know if they are going to take this vaccine procurement from it, because if they do, we are left with N147bn. The other one is already low and you’re going to worsen it if you do that and we say this year all we did in health is procurement.
“If they have a N400bn budget to buy the vaccine, my suggestion, they don’t need to award contracts in this vaccine, let them call Serum Institute in India and beg them. I am sure they will even give Nigeria a discount. If they want I can go for the negotiation. It won’t cost more than $2 each.”
“Nigeria as a country in 1940 established what we called National Vaccine Production facility domiciled in Yaba, and that was able to produce virtually all the vaccines we used in the days of smallpox, yellow fever, and that facility was shut down in 1991 to be refurbished and upgraded, there was nothing wrong with it. And till today that has been the case deliberately so that people can import vaccine and sell to the government.
“I don’t want it to be as if I am always on the negative side, but the reality is that things are not going as transparently as it should. When we talk about management from the onset, yes they are trying to do it in the Nigeria way which I think we should now be doing things differently, we now need to be doing things transparently and where people can see cost-effectiveness, savings and everything.
“That was why when you saw EndSARS people were going to break warehouses, nobody knew those things were packed in warehouses.”
The former Governor said the issue of vaccine is one he feels lots of pain as Nigeria had grounded the National Vaccine Production facility established in 1940 so that people can reap from the move.