Nigerian state secures $82m to fight Polio

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JICA
JICA

The Federal Government has secured a $82 million credit facility from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to eradicate polio.

Information Minister Labaran Maku disclosed this to State House correspondents today after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Maku explained that the loan was obtained to speed up polio eradication in Nigeria, saying the country had been considered endemic in terms of incidence of polio.

“This loan is about $82 million with an annual interest rate of 0.2 percent. This concessionary loan, which is actually a grant, has been offered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to support Nigeria’s motion towards ending the incidence of polio”, he said.

The minister said the statistics given to the FEC yesterday showed that between 2012 and 2013, the incidence of new cases of polio had come down by slightly over 50 percent.

“In 2012, about 121 cases were reported, but in 2013, the report showed that we had only 50 cases. This was made possible through government’s intervention in terms of immunisation, campaign and enlightenment programmes.

“This shows clearly that polio is coming down and by the grace of God, will further come down with this new facility given with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, working in partnership with the Ministries of Finance and Health.

“The Japanese has given us this facility and it is expected that if we are able to meet the target in the next five years, it is quite possible that Bill and Melinda Gates will take off the payment of this loan as a grant to the Japanese”, he said.

In another development, the FEC also today received from Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a report that the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) has been rated second best in the world in terms of transparency as well as local and international confidence.

Maku said this indicated that Nigeria was fast gaining global confidence in the management of her resources.

He said the FEC, however, urged that this feat should attract investment and develop the nation’s infrastructure.

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