NASS Impressed With Presidential Task Force on COVID-19

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The leadership of the National Assembly has commended the competence of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila gave the commendation on Thursday at a meeting with the Presidential Task Force in Abuja.

Lawan said that the PTF had done a good job so far by coordinating the fight against the pandemic and reaching out to the various states of the federation.

The senate president lauded the PTF for giving Nigerians daily updates on the national response strategy adopted to contain the virus.

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The legislator suggested the harmonisation of the funds contributed by organisations and individuals to combat COVID-19 for accountability and efficient service delivery to Nigerians.

Earlier, Mustapha told the lawmakers that coronavirus had emerged as the most significant public health emergency of international concern spreading across 209 countries.

According to the PTF chairman, the world has recorded no fewer than 1.5 million cases across the 209 affected country.

“The disease has placed a considerable and significant strain on the global health care system and the economy of the world.

“Given the relentless exponential growth rate witnessed in other countries, the spread of the virus in the continent and in particular in Nigeria should be expected.

​“The nation is at war against a very dangerous, unseen and ubiquitous enemy and all hands must be on deck to successfully prosecute the war,’’ Mustapha said.

Mustapha urged the National Assembly to develop a legislative framework to prepare Nigeria for any future pandemic and would transform the healthcare systems.

He urged the lawmakers to strengthen the legislative framework for economic growth through domestic manufacturing and deepen the legislative oversight during this pandemic and beyond.

The SGF called on the legislature to pass legislations that would further ease the ability of the executive to cushion the impact of the economic decline.

The Presidential Task Force chairman told the lawmakers that the virus had spread to no fewer than 16 states with six deaths warning against illusion as it affects all and sundry.

Mustapha said that there is a high level political and multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms for preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that there is high level coordination of the United Nations agencies and other bilateral and multilateral partners, foundations and international bodies involved in the response resulting in a common United Nations Basket Fund.

He explained that it had accelerated procurement systems for good and services and attraction of donations from global philanthropists including Jack Ma as well as many corporate bodies operating in Nigeria.

The SGF said that the mobilisation of the States and Local Government areas resources were ongoing in preparation for the possible spread of the disease into communities.

Mustapha said the Presidential Task Force had been working in conjunction with the states, especially on testing, detection, isolation, contact tracing and management of coronavirus cases.

He noted that the pandemic had exposed the weaknesses in the global health systems advising that a plan be laid for the immediate, medium- and long-term development of the health system.

The SGF explained that the PTF will not be directly involved in the collection and disbursement of the cash donations for COVID-19.

According to him, the Accountant-General of the Federation has already published the account details for collection through five commercial banks and also provided the modalities for its utilisation.

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