The Federal Government has said that it depends on donor partners to pay its contribution of $4 million for the annual purchase of contraceptives through a Basket Fund with external donors.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, revealed this on Monday in Abuja, during the bi-weekly ministerial meeting on the update on the response and development of COVID-19 in the country’s health sector.

The Nigerian News Agency reports that Ehanire, in March 2022, renewed the financial commitment on behalf of Nigeria with the endorsement of the Federal Executive Council.

Nigeria with UNFPA, the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health agency and others, has pledged to share the cost of contraceptives starting in 2023.

Under Nigeria’s 2020 Family Planning Commitment, the federal government is required to contribute $4 million annually to purchase contraceptives through a Basket Fund with external donors.

However, Nigeria has not committed this amount since 2018, and contributions from UNFPA and other donors account for the majority of the funds used to procure family planning products in the country.

However, the need to increase domestic financing became paramount to ensure sustainable financing for the provision of basic family planning services and products, to reduce severe dependency on donors, especially in the face of declining foreign aid.

The minister did not reveal the donor partners that would bail the country out of this debt.

He blamed the $4 million debts on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason why the country could not pay the matching funds for the FP was that COVID-19 became the immediate problem that the government needed to solve at that time.

“As soon as we have finalized the plans, we will reveal the donor partners,” he said.

The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic had diverted funds from essential family planning services and put pressure on national health budgets, reinforcing the critical need to finance sexual and reproductive health services in times of crisis.

According to the World Health Organization survey of 105 countries, it found that 90 percent had interruptions in health services due to the pandemic and 68 percent reported interruptions in family planning services.