The National Assembly is to make resources available in the 2022 budget for the war against COVID-19, even as it would prioritise judicious deployment of the funds.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, dropped the hint yesterday while opening a national summit on the virus with the theme, “End the Pandemic and Build Back Better,” organised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
He told the participants that, “in the 2022 appropriation, whatever is necessary will be provided for Nigeria to continue to fight the pandemic. But there is a caveat – that those who will be given those funds need to provide the kind of prudence that is necessary – the economy, the efficiency in the deployment and application of those resources.”
Lawan continued: “I will urge our committees, which have been working very hard and very closely with the PSC, to ensure very strict and rigorous scrutiny and oversight of our funds in 2022 when we are able to provide them to the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies.”
He assured Nigerians that “members of the National Assembly and other political leaders take the health of the citizens seriously and we will continue to be alive to our responsibility to ensure that our citizens are protected and provided that kind of opportunity to take the vaccine.”
The Senate President also urged the relevant health authorities to do more to ensure that apathy towards the vaccine is minimised or eliminated if possible.
He commended the PSC for the great work it had done in effectively coordinating and mounting a formidable national response to the emergent global public health threat.
Lawan also paid tribute to patriotic and gallant health personnel, who have sacrificed so much to fight the disease, stressing that Nigeria would remain indebted to them.
His words: The Ninth National Assembly, under my leadership, has equally played a critical role in supporting the executive arm of government to respond frontally through the passage of the Quarantine Act 2020 to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on our citizens and the economy.
“The Act provided and regulated the imposition of quarantine and made other provisions for preventing the introduction, spread and transmission of dangerous infectious diseases in Nigeria.”