Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the amendment to the 2020 Appropriation Act will focus primarily on the provision of health infrastructure.
The Speaker also disclosed that the House was taking step to legalise the Social Investment Programme so that it is not left at the whims and caprices of a group of people as well as making it beneficial to the vulnerable groups it was designed for.
Speaking at a web interactive session (webinar) organised by the Emmanuel Chapel, the Speaker disclosed that the House was concerned about the possible effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease on the nation’s economy and the healthcare delivery system, hence steps taken by the House in its bid to address the raging pandemic.
According to him, the introduction and passage of the first Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill and the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, as well as the second Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, which is about to be introduced, were all meant to successfully steer the country out of troubled waters that might follow the pandemic.
He said efforts at legalising the Social Investment Programme will include its codification, adding that the country cannot afford not to learn from the corona virus pandemic, which explains why legislations must be put in place to address similar crises when they occur again.
“We are going through an experience like never before. I always believe that great nations are determined by how they survive and how they respond in times of emergencies like this, in times of adversity.
“What the House is doing now, and in the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing a robust codification and sanction of the SIP in Nigeria that will take care of the poor and the vulnerable.
That’s the standard; it’s for the poor and the vulnerable, it would codify and define who is poor and who is vulnerable and the geographical spread would be determined by law.
“It is a very proactive legislation that would be on the floor of the House, debated and passed to the Senate for concurrence.
Other panelists at the Zoom-powered webinar, moderated by Bolanle Austen-Peters, with the theme ‘State of Biosecurity: National Emergencies and COVID-19 Disruptions,’ included Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters and Prof. Abdulrazaq Habib, Infectious and Tropical Disease Physician.