OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the January-December budget cycle is necessary to ensure effective implementation of Nigeria annual budgets to meet her developmental challenges.

The Speaker made this known on Monday during a special session held whereby N13.588 trillion 2021 budget was passed into law. He restated the resolve of the 9th House to maintain the January-December budget cycle throughout its duration, and leave a legacy for its successors to aspire to.

The Speaker said: “Today, we have passed the budget in the House of Representatives in good time to maintain the January-December budget cycle in line with the commitments we made when we resumed office.

“The January to December budget cycle is necessary to ensure effective implementation of our annual budgets to meet our nation’s development challenges. By our joint efforts and the grace of God, we will maintain this standard for every year we are in office, and leave a legacy for our successors to aspire to”.

Gbajabiamila recounted the contribution of the House to containment of the coronavirus pandemic, saying much as it took all by surprise, the House acted swiftly to save lives, while members also made personal sacrifices.

He said: “Within the limits of our brutal realities, with our options limited by a scarcity of resources, by dilapidated infrastructure and outdated laws, we acted to slow the spread of the disease, to treat the sick, comfort the afflicted and provide for the most vulnerable of our nation’s citizens.

“The truth is, we have done better than many believed was possible, better than many nations, even the most advanced. Our economy has taken a big hit, but through partnership with the private sector, government has been able to prevent the nightmare scenarios that some predicted.

“Members of the House, together and individually, made financial contributions to support welfare provisions for citizens. There is virtually no constituency in the country that did not feel the impact of efforts by their representatives. I commend you all, and I thank you most sincerely”.

He said the House in an unprecedented single-day session”, passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill to provide targeted economic relief in response to the emerging threat.

Gbajabiamila noted that though the bill did not become law, it later became the foundation on which the government rolled out many relief packages to cushion the harsh effects of the pandemic on Nigerians.

He said: “That legislation never became law. Yet the bill’s specific objectives have been implemented through executive action to defer mortgages, remove duties on medical imports, provide salary relief and related financial support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.

“Despite an extraordinary torrent of misinformation and political mischief, the House moved forward with landmark legislation to reform our nation’s obsolete statutory framework for preventing and managing infectious diseases and pandemics so that we can be better prepared for the next time.

“We worked with the Executive to address medical doctors and healthcare workers’ welfare demands and resolve a labour dispute that would have resulted in strike actions and walkouts with devastating consequences for too many of our citizens, amid a raging and deadly pandemic.

“Because of the House of Representatives, “Hazard Allowance” became part of the medical and pandemic lexicon. The intervention by the House elevated the welfare of healthcare workers to a ministerial issue and saw to it that these hazard allowances were provided for and paid.”

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