COVID-19: NASS seeks equitable distribution of palliatives, free electricity for Nigerians

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The leadership of the National Assembly has called on the Federal Government to ensure the equitable distribution of various palliatives to cushion the effect of coronavirus lockdown across the country.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan made the call at a consultative meeting with the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and other key drivers of the Nigerian economy on Wednesday.

The meeting was in continuation of engagements with the Minister as the Federal Government plans to adjust the 2020 budget to include a N500 billion COVID-19 stimulus package.

Lawan said the meeting was necessary as he emphasized the need to effectively stream all the proposed interventions by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“In our stimulus package, we need to make provisions that will streamline with existing interventions in the N500 billion stimulus package”.

Lawan said, “while this is a good proposal we need to ensure we don’t duplicate what is already in the budget”.

The President of the Senate, however, noted that the National Assembly will through its oversight function ensure that the N500 billion even though small is effectively utilized if eventually passed.

“These interventions are very clear on target and we shouldn’t just throw money away without seeing anything”.

“Of course the national Assembly will ensure proper monitoring of the fund”, he said.

But even more imperative for Lawan was the need to ensure the palliatives are equitably shared to the right people in all the states whether affected or not.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila suggested the Federal Government reach more people and households by paying their electricity tariffs for the next two months.

Gbajabiamila said the “free electricity” will come as a great relief to many citizens during the period of lockdown; pointing out that Nigeria’s neighbour, Ghana had come up with a similar stimulus package for its citizens.

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