…says Social Investment Programmer legislation underway
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the possible effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease on the nation’s economy and the healthcare delivery system are responsible for all the steps taken by the House in its bid to address the raging pandemic.
Speaker Gbajabiamila said 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.
The Speaker also hinted that the House would soon introduce a bill that would codify government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) with a view to giving it legal backing.
While speaking at a web interactive session (webinar) organized by the Emmanuel Chapel on Friday, he said the country cannot afford not to learn from the novel disease, which was why legislation must be put in place to address similar crises when they occur again.
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
“As leaders, we must respond like we are at war. Lives have been disrupted. Talking about social security, we have before now and even till now that is akin to that in Nigeria today is Social Investment Programme (SIP) where we have the N-Power, Moni Trader, the Conditional Cash Transfer, the School Feeding Programme and a wide variety of other programs but unfortunately, they have not been codified.
“So, basically these are left to the whims and caprices of whoever is in charge to determine who gets what. So, it’s been something that’s not statutory, it’s not codified, budgeted for but again it depends on who’s handling it at the appointed time.
“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.” The Speaker said.