Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The leadership of the National Assembly yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and called for more coordination in the management of donations received form individuals and organisations in support of the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is even as they said the National Assembly was on standby to reconvene and trash the issue of the N500 billion stimulus package on cushioning the effects of COVID-19 proposed by government, when presented to it.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan spoke to State House Correspondents, after the closed door with President Buhari in company of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The leadership of the National Assembly has been holding series of meetings with Ministers and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and this afternoon we had an engagement with the President to discuss with him what we have resolved as leaders of the National Assembly and our opinion on various issues regarding the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria as well as going forward.
“For example, the various donations that we are receiving should go into a single account and should have a fund management committee that would be in charge of releases. Accountability and transparency require that we have that separation.
“It is also an opportunity for us to commend Nigerians and corporate bodies that have given us donations but we believe there should be more coordination as far as the management of the funds donated is concerned.”
Lawan also commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for working hard to address the challenge confronting the nation.
“I believe the Presidential Task Force is doing a very good job, they have been very proactive and they deserve our commendation,” he said.
Speaking on the Social Investment Programme, the Senate President also called for a review of the way the social investment programme of government is being implemented, so as to reach more Nigerians, especially the category of people the programme was meant for.
“We also believe that it is time to reform the way and manner we implement the social investment programme, This is a very important programme that is meant to help poor and vulnerable Nigerians and we believe that having implemented it for four years or more, we should be reviewing to evaluate the efficacy efficiency with which we have been implementing the programme.
“I believe that we also need to legislate on how to fight poverty in Nigeria because this is one issue that has been there for quite some time and therefore there is need for us to have a very clear and well spelt out processes and procedures on how to tackle poverty.
“There should be very little or no room for discretion so that we have a programme that will be very transparent and should go deep down to those who really deserve to have the support and should be such an equitable and fair programme as far the geographical spread across the country is concerned,” he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said they discussed the issue of providing free electricity for Nigerians as result of the lockdown on COVID-19, so as to make them more comfortable as they stay at home.