There are fresh indications that the extension of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja may affect the proposed approval of N500 billion intervention fund to cushion the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly was initially billed to resume on April 7, but due to the lockdown, the resumption was moved to tomorrow April 14.
But the President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, gave an indication on the extension of the lockdown when a statement from the presidency said the restriction of movements would last for as long as experts advise.
It was gathered that with the possible extension, the National Assembly members may not be able to return to Abuja to reconvene as all flights are still grounded.
It was learnt from the two previous meetings of the National Assembly leadership held last Wednesday and Thursday that the legislature had resolved that the request of the federal government would officially be tabled at separate sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives tomorrow.
According to a lawmaker, the letter seeking approval of the N500 billion intervention fund would be read at the separate sessions of the Senate and the House and subsequently referred to the appropriate committees.
The senator said that with the possible extension of the lockdown, the National Assembly leadership was in a dilemma on the issue.
Most senators and House of Representatives members are in their districts and constituencies and the airlines are not working and the directive on the lockdown is not explicit.
If we don’t resume and deliberate on the letter seeking the approval of N500 billion, it could affect the eventual approval. As we talk now, we are waiting, both senators and members of the House of Representatives, because the letter from the president must be read and then committed to the respective committees.
As part of efforts to arrest the pandemic in the country, the Federal Government had approached the leadership of the National Assembly for the approval of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, at a meeting with the lawmakers on April 4, had said the proposed fund would be dedicated to upgrading the health facilities in states across the country.