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Battle against Covid-19 to receive boost, as Senate makes pledge

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PIB passes first reading in Senate

The Senate on Monday pledged to ensure adequate budgetary allocation in order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2022 fiscal year.

This was contained in a statement issued by Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President in Abuja while declaring open, a National Summit on COVID-19 with the theme: ‘End the Pandemic and Build Back Better.”

The summit was organised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

He, however, said the federal Parliament would ensure that the funds were prudently utilised by the relevant government agencies.

According to Lawan, the NASS will do whatever it takes to ensure “Nigeria to continue to fight the pandemic and beyond it in the 2022 appropriation.

“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.

“I will urge our Committees who 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 it’s agencies.

“Members of the National Assembly and other political leaders of this country take the health of Nigerians very seriously and we will continue to be alive to our responsibility to ensure that our citizens are protected and are provided that kind of opportunity to take the vaccine.”

The Senate President also urged the relevant health authorities to do more to ensure that the vaccine hesitancy is minimised or eliminated if possible.

Lawan also paid tribute to health personnel who had sacrificed so much to fight against the pandemic.

Read also: COVID-19: Senate moots 4-month ban for VIPs who violate airport protocols

He said, “The 9th 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 in order 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.

“The NASS proactively reviewed the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and the 2020 national budget in order to sufficiently fund the national response to the pandemic and to provide economic stimulus packages for Nigerians.

“In addition, after meticulous scrutiny, the Assembly gave approvals for various loans requested by the Executive to fund the 2020 national budget.”

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