Govs ask N/Assembly to step down Infectious Diseases Bill

The Nigerian Governors Forum has asked the National Assembly to step down the Infectious Disease Bill to allow for wider consultations with stakeholders.

It also set up a three-member committee made up of governors Aminu Masari (Katsina), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Simon Lalong (Plateau) to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly over the issue.

This was contained in a communique signed by the Chairman of the forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State after the 8th COVID-19 teleconference meeting of the NGF held on Wednesday.

The communique was issued on Thursday.

It read in part, “Following an update from the Governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the NGF, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives, Governors raised concern with the lack of consultation with State governments who are at the forefront of the epidemic.

“The Forum resolved that the Bill should be stepped down until an appropriate consultative process is held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns.

“In the light of this, the Forum established a Committee comprising the Governors of Katsina, Sokoto, and Plateau to lead a consultative meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020. The NGF Secretariat was also mandated to comprehensively review the Bill and its implication on States.”

The governors, who also expressed concerns over the rising cases of the COVID-19 infections across the nation, resolved to among other things, work in collaboration with the Dangote Foundation to set up and train a volunteer health workforce and increase the tempo of setting up isolation centres.

They also resolved to make available additional warehouses to store palliatives donated by the private sector and ensure that such donations get to the most vulnerable in each state.

After receiving a briefing from Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, the governors also resolved to strengthen on the operation of the World Bank States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability ]project which is supporting a strong pro-poor fiscal response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,

The governors also agreed to take additional measures to strengthen their public financial management systems, including a revision of their 2020 budgets and the amendment of State procurement guidelines to support e-procurement and the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises.