President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transformation of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 into a new Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) with modified responsibilities.
This followed the terminal report of the PTF submitted to the president in March at the end of its initial tenure.
Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the President considered the report and approved that the PTF will transition to a PSC on COVID-19, effective from 1 April 2021, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic;
The structure of the PSC will reflect the new focus of the response with a targeted approach on vaccine oversight, risk communication, international travel quarantine processes and sub-national engagement.
Its tenure will last till 31st December, 2021.
The PSC will maintain the present constitution, functions and strategies of the PTF and be supported by a slim technical and administrative structure.
The current National Incident Manager, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, is to formally take over from the National Coordinator and function as the Head (Technical Secretariat) and member of the Committee.
The PSC is to establish a Policy/Leadership Secretariat from the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) that will sustain institutional memory and records; and a private sector supported Transition Consultant that will sustain the multi-sectoral relations and policy guidance.
According to Mustapha, the PSC will coordinate the Vaccine Roll out, deployment and administration; improve on the multi-sectoral systems; meet less frequently while maintaining effective communication with Nigerians; and monitor and audit on going systems, reforms and infrastructure development in the health sector.
Mustapha equally disclosed that a consignment of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines has been received by Nigeria donated by the Government of India.
The doses manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, arrived at the Abuja airport from Mumbai via Addis Ababa on 26 March, 2021.
The consignment was delivered to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) by the High Commission of India.
The bilateral donation of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines is in fulfilment of the announcement earlier made by the High Commissioner.
The India government had maintained that the supply to Nigeria is in keeping with India’s longstanding, age-old and time-tested ties with Nigeria, based on close friendship and deep mutual trust.
The Covishield vaccine had already been approved by NAFDAC.