Dr. Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, has stated that the National Assembly will allocate cash in the 2022 budget for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if the funds are used wisely.
“In the 2022 appropriation, everything is necessary would be allocated for Nigeria to continue to battle the pandemic and beyond it,” Lawan said yesterday in Abuja, while declaring open a National Summit on COVID-19 with the theme “End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.”
“However, those who will be provided those money must demonstrate the prudence that is required – the economy, the efficiency in the deployment and application of those resources.”
“And I will urge our committees, which have been working extremely hard and closely with the PSC,” he continued, “to ensure very tight and rigorous review and oversight of our monies in 2022, when we are able to provide them to the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies.”
“Members of the National Assembly and other political leaders in this nation take the health of Nigerians very seriously,” he promised Nigerians, “and we will continue to be aware of our obligation to ensure that our folks are protected and given that type of opportunity to take the vaccine.”
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The Senate President also asked relevant health agencies to do more to reduce or eradicate vaccination reluctance if at all possible.
He praised the PSC for its outstanding efforts in coordinating and implementing a robust national response to this emerging global public health concern.
Lawan also paid respect to the brave and patriotic health workers who had given so much to fight the pandemic, emphasising that Nigeria would always be obliged to them.
“Under my leadership, the 9th National Assembly has also played a crucial role in aiding the Executive Arm of Government in responding frontally through the passing of the Quarantine Act 2020 in order to reduce the consequences of COVID – 19 on our citizens and the economy,” he said.
“The Act established and regulated quarantine, as well as other provisions aimed at avoiding the introduction, spread, and transmission of deadly infectious illnesses in Nigeria.”
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“In order to adequately fund the national response to the epidemic and provide economic stimulus packages for Nigerians, the NASS proactively examined the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 national budget.”
“In addition, the Assembly approved several loans requested by the Executive to cover the 2020 national budget following thorough review.
“Some renowned members of the Assembly acquired and distributed various COVID – 19 relief goods to their constituencies, while members of the Senate gave up half of their monthly wages to offer relief materials for Nigerians to soften the effect of the epidemic.”
“The Assembly’s monitoring powers mandated a thorough examination of how the aforementioned sums were used, as well as strict adherence to decisions requiring the fair and equitable distribution of palliatives to the most vulnerable.”
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“In response to citizenry needs, the Executive was tasked with implementing the Social Intervention Programme (SIP).”
“The advent of the Omicron virus variety indicates that the pandemic is not yet ended, and we should not rest on our laurels in the fight against it.”