N500b relieve package delayed by NASS recess

Federal Government’s disbursement of ₦500 billion fiscal stimulus package is being delayed by the continued recess of the National Assembly.

One of the critical beneficiaries of the disbursement are frontline health workers battling the COVID 19 pandemic.

Before securing an ₦112,500,000 life insurance package for frontline health workers,the federal government had promised to compliment the life insurance package with enhanced hazard allowances in the remuneration structure of the Federal health sector workers.

A source at the Ministry of Finance told The Nation that the enhanced hazard allowances is stuck with the National Assembly.

According to the source, details of the hazard allowances are contained in the proposal sent to the National Assembly as part of the palliative intervention fund that was mentioned by the Minister of Finance.

The source noted: “The National Assembly has to sit and make an approval of the revised budget that was put before it.

“As part of the revised budget there is also this intervention fund that was mentioned. It is only when it is approved that you now begin to segment them into different public uses.”

The source added: “For now even the works department programme, the palliative, all those ones are captured as a holistic intervention and so without the National Assembly sitting down and looking at the review there is nothing we can do.”

It was disclosed that the legislators expressed concern over the adequacy of the ₦500 billion stimulus package and all it contains.

In his words: “When we went to National Assembly, they were saying money permitting ₦500 billion is small right at least they mentioned that.

“We don’t know if they are going to look at other areas that they will suggest that may be some money should be mopped up to add to the ₦500 billion we don’t know yet.”

The ₦500 billion fiscal stimulus package is for several interventions with funding drawn from various special funds and accounts, in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.

It is to be utilised for the upgrade of healthcare facilities in states; creation of a Special Public Works Programme; and to fund any additional interventions that may be approved by the President.=

To complement these initiatives, the government is “taking steps to activate, release and (where necessary) enhance the hazard allowances provided in the remuneration structure of the Federal health sector workers.”

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