In getting Nigerians vaccinated against Coronavirus which is ravaging the world again, the National Assembly declared Thursday that the Executive will have to forward a supplementary budget for approval of money to procure vaccines against it.
Money for procurement of vaccines against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic , is not contained in the now passed N13.588trillion 2021 budget.
But the President of the Senate , Ahmad Lawan , in a personally signed new year message to Nigerians in Abuja Thursday, declared the readiness of National Assembly to give a supplementary budget to that effect from the executive , expeditious consideration and passage.
“We will give accelerated consideration to any measures proposed towards the containment of the COVID-19 in its second wave of attacks.
“In this regard, the National Assembly is waiting for the Executive to propose supplementary appropriation for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
“In the meantime, we should continue to adhere strictly to the non-pharmaceutical protocols as prescribed by relevant health authorities”, he said.
Aside the supplementary budget being awaited for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, the President of the Senate in the message , also assured Nigerians that the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) , already before the federal lawmakers , will be passed before the end of first quarter of 2021.
Accordimg to him, the Electoral Act ( Amendment) bill and Constitution Amendment already being considered by both Chambers of the National Assembly , will be passed before the end of 2021.
His words: “Some critical legislations that we could not enact in 2020 as a result of the unusual development which I have mentioned are now on the priority list of the Legislative Agenda of the National Assembly for 2021.
“Topmost on the priority list are the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which we need, to boost activities in our oil and gas sector. The PIB has defied passage for about two decades but we are determined this time around to break that jinx and pass the Bill by the end of the first quarter of the new year.
“It is our utmost desire to make the passage of the PIB one of the legacies of the ninth National Assembly. Equally important is the passage of the Electoral Reform Amendment Bill. This is necessary in order to enhance the democratic process of free, fair, transparent and credible elections in our dear country.
“We are determined to pass the Electoral Reforms Bill before the second quarter of 2021. Also on our priority list in 2021 is the amendment to the 1999 Constitution, which is the grundnorm of our being together as a nation.
“We have it on our agenda to pull through the process of constitutional amendment in 2021. The process which started in 2020 requires extensive consultations and the buy in of everybody”.
In his own New year message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa / NEPAD, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani ( PDP Enugu East), urged governments at all levels to ensure justice, fairness and equity in the affairs of the country in order to give every section of the country a sense of belonging.
This he said is a necessary antidote to disharmony in the country and an elixir to command national loyalty for all citizens.
He expressed optimism that the governments at all levels would earn the trust, respect and confidence of the citizens “if fairness and equity becomes the grund norm for policies and programmes”.
He also noted that agitations and restiveness in parts of the country can be curtailed and eradicated if infrastructure development and appointments into key offices in government are based on fairness, equity and justice.
Any action or policy of government according to him, that tends to offend the sensibilities of citizens would always produce negative results.
He therefore canvassed for an egalitarian society where every citizen is free to carry out his or her legitimate business in any part of the country without fear of intimidation or molestation.