The Federal Government has released N6.45bn to set up 38 oxygen plants nationwide to cater for COVID-19 patients who need oxygen.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement issued at the end of the first meeting of the National Economic Council for the year.

The statement was titled, ‘FG releases N6.45bn for new oxygen plants in 38 locations nationwide to facilitate COVID-19 treatment.’

NEC, which is chaired by the Vice President, has all state governors, Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor and relevant ministers as members.

Akande said the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced the release of the fund at the meeting.

“While briefing the NEC on the release of the funds, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said the President approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in the country,” Akande said.

He added that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, informed the council that sequel to the decision of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.),  to activate the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund based on the National Health Act, N55.1bn was approved in 2018 and that 50 per cent of the sum had been released to states and Abuja.