The Senate on Tuesday, April 14, advocated for the establishment of Fund Committee; to manage donations from individuals and also organisations in support of the ongoing crusade against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, made the call at the end of a strategic engagement; between President Muhammadu Buhari and the NASS leadership over national issues; including the Coronavirus disease at the State House, Abuja.
Lawan, who was in the company of the Speaker, House of Representatives; Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that the committee, when constituted, would ensure proper as well as effective utilization of the various donations made so far.
He said: “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 curb the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
“I believe the Presidential Task Force is doing a very good job. They have been very proactive; and they deserve our commendation,” he added.
On Social Investment Programme, the Senate President called for a review of the way and manner the programme was being implemented; to enable more poor and vulnerable citizens to benefit from it.
“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 and efficiency with which we have been implementing the programme.
“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.