The NETWORK for Best Practice and Integrity in Leadership (NEBPRIL) has called on the National Assembly to lead a patriotic initiative, hinged on fiscal discipline, prudent budgeting and enhanced oversight, to put Nigeria on the path of speedy post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The move, according to the civil society organisation (CSO), should include suspension of constituency projects for 12 months and strengthening of oversight mechanisms to plug wastages with a view to investing the ‘subsidy’ in healthcare and e-learning.
It implored the federal lawmakers to vote against the executive of government-sponsored “Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill and the 365-day 60th independence anniversary celebration”, describing them as “ludicrous in the face of current gloomy economic condition in Nigeria.”
The “dwindling economic condition makes it imperative for government to begin to devise creative means to manage scarce resources and make conscious efforts to block every avenue of possible wastage,” NEBPRIL submitted.
In correspondences to the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, signed by its chairman, Victor Afam Ogene, the body noted: “Records show that Nigeria was paying an average of N 11 trillion yearly for petroleum products’ subsidy.
“Now that government has stopped subsidy payment, NEBPRIL requests that the National Assembly applies its legislative powers on budgeting to ensure that the huge savings from this new policy are warehoused as a special fund to tackle headlong the crisis in healthcare infrastructure and capacity building in the sector over the next three years.
“That e-learning infrastructure and e-teaching capacity development in our educational sector, which were brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic, receive special budgetary attention from the subsidy removal savings in order to align with the new development, occasioned by the pandemic.
“That National Assembly, in a gesture of goodwill, leading by example and in appreciation of the current economic exigency, should consider the suspension of constituency projects for a period of one year, starting from the 2021 budget; the allocation for the projects (intentioned to impact on constituents across the nation), should rather, be redirected for the same purpose, but in providing specific, purpose-driven, legacy critical health infrastructure, across the six geopolitical zones that would be attributed to NASS, as its post-COVID special contribution in bringing solution to the health sector.”