The government of Oyo State said on Tuesday that it has so far spent the sum of Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Nine Million (N2,779,000,000) on the effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The state’s COVID-19 Task Force, which gave the account through the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo, said that the amount was spent on setting up of treatment and isolation centres, procurement of palliatives and seedlings for a section of the residents and farmers as well as on procurement of ambulances and the security of the state’s borders, among others.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Akinola stated these while briefing the press at the Governor’s Office, Agodi Ibadan.
He maintained that the state considered it imperative to inform the public on the expenses on the pandemic in line with the principle of transparency and accountability, which he said Governor Makinde is known for.
The commissioner gave the breakdown of the expenses as including: N370 million for the setting up of the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan; N453 million on security of the state borders; N118 million to provide support for the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan for partnership on testing; N900 million on provision of palliatives and seedling to residents and farmers.
He added that N321 million was expended on procurement of ambulances for the Ministry of Health while the state has also expended N614 million so far on the procurement of reagents, body kits, drugs and other items for testing and treatment of patients.
“In terms of the cost of treatment, if you remember when I gave the breakdown, I said we spent N614 million on other items, which were consumables, such as reagents and body kits and others for patients.”
The commissioner, who stated that the state has approved a total of N15,000 per health worker as hazard allowance added that the allowance would be paid from March 2020.
While asking questions as to why journalists were not classified as frontline workers, he stated that the state would look into the quest and ensure that journalists also benefit from the palliatives.
The Commissioner, on behalf of Governor Makinde, appreciated all residents of the state and well-meaning individuals who have made donations in cash and materials to support the State’s endowment fund on COVID-19.
According to him, the endowment fund so far has realised the sum of N378 million in cash donations, while the total value of cash and kind donations stand at N1.1 billion.
Other donations according to him included the N250 million in cash and medical equipment received from CACOVID and donations of medical equipment from corporate organisations, groups and individuals.
He, however, stated that though the state was promised the sum of N100 million by the Federal Government, it was yet to receive the money from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to him, the state was yet to touch the donated cash of N378 million, adding that the funds spent so far are from the coffers of Oyo State.
He also stated that the government would give a full account when the funds donated by well-meaning individuals would be disbursed.
The Commissioner said: “In line with the principle of transparency and accountability, which the administration of Engineer Seyi Makinde is known for, it is imperative, especially at this time, that we inform the good people of Oyo State on the amount we have realised so far by your contributions and the expenses incurred in the fight against the global enemy, COVID-19.
“Oyo State recorded its first index case on March 20, 2020. The COVID-19 Task Force, headed by Governor Makinde, was constituted for partnership. As of today, we have received a cash donation totalling N378 million from the citizens of Oyo State, well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations. I must appreciate all of you who have donated.
“These donations are publicly available on Oyo State government website and they are regularly updated.
“In terms of expenses and the breakdown, as a state and, as of today, we have spent N2,779,000,000. A breakdown of these expenses shows that we have spent N900 million to provide for palliatives to the indigent amongst us and also provide palliatives to the farmers in the form of seedlings.
“The plan of the governor is to set up four world class isolation centres across the regions of the state. And this, without doubt, has come with a cost. We have set up the Olodo Isolation Centre, which is a word class facility. We are in the process of setting up isolation centres in Saki, Ogbomoso and Igbo Ora. All we need to actualise these has been set aside and included in the cost of roughly N2.8billion that has been spent this far.
“We have also been able to provide security by securing the state borders, which has cost us N450 million. We provided security trucks and the cost of personnel.
“I must say that health workers have not been neglected because they are the frontline staff who are fighting against this virus. So, we have been able to pay their volunteer and hazard allowances in June and backdated to March. We are going to pay the hazard allowance of all the health workers from March up until June. So, this just gives you a brief analysis of how much we have spent so far on COVID-19 pandemic in Oyo State.
“On Olodo, we spent a total of N370 million, which forms part of the cost we spent in upgrading the centre and also the personnel cost incurred so far. We have also spent N453 million on security of the state borders. We have spent another N118 million in supporting UCH, a partner that is supporting us in testing coronavirus patients. We spent an additional N900 million on palliatives and for provision of seedling to farmers that were affected.
“We have spent N321 million in buying ambulances for the Ministry of Health to support the fight. On other items like supply of reagents, body kits, we have spent a total of N614 million. If you have all that up, it will give you a total of N2,779,000,000.”