Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that there was no controversy at all over the Infectious Disease Bill, noting that it was introduced to cushion the possible effects of Covid-19 on the nation’s economy and the healthcare delivery system.
According to Gbajabiamila, Nigeria 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.
Gbajabiamila added that it would be irresponsible for any legislature not to have speedily acted with dispatch in times of danger such as this, saying that the impression of the provisions in the CID Bill were strange and contradictory to the nation’s constitution and why the Social Investment Programm (SIP) must be institutionalized and backed by law.
“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.
“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.
Gbajabiamila said the passage of the first Emergency Economic Bill and the introduction of the second document in a matter of weeks was meant to prepare for the shock that would trail the pandemic, as countries are expected to run into recession.
“A lot is going on in the House, there is a lot of moving part, we can’t fix these in one day but as we continue with our post-COVID-19 team in the House of Representatives, we begin to channel legislations, which is our primary responsibility to deal with the disruptions of our daily lives.
“In every bad experience, the most important thing is to learn from it and I think we all agreed that and on the same page that healthcare delivery infrastructure requires priority and a lot of work,” he added.