The House of Representatives on Saturday in Abuja said a fresh Stimulus Bill that will ensure that Nigerians get free electricity supply for two months would be considered to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said the proposed bill is to help in boosting the economy through the informal sector as the country prepares for the aftermath of the coronavirus.
The proposed bill, which will be the second stimulus bill by the Green Chamber, is to be considered immediately the House reconvenes from its ongoing break, embarked on following the threat of Coronavirus outbreak.
It has, however, been agreed by the leadership of the National Assembly that the resumption date, initially slated for April 7, be extended by one week in compliance with the government’s 2-week stay-at-home policy.
Gbajabiamila spoke at the National Assembly on Saturday during a meeting between the National Assembly leadership and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, among others.
The speaker said the country could not afford to be unprepared for the effect of COVID-19 on its economy.
Explaining the necessity for the proposed stimulus bill for the electricity sector, the Speaker said electricity, being a commodity consumed by every household, has a greater effect on the people and that since more Nigerians are in the informal sector, the effects would be more felt by the economy.
“The issue of electricity, you’ll agree, because the Minister did say that she has been inundated by the public, just as we are, on several suggestions and ideas and I am almost a hundred per cent sure that, from those ideas will be the issue of some kind of shelter, as far as electricity is concerned.
“It is one thing that will touch every household. As I said earlier, when we engaged, I discussed with the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) that packaged whatever they would require, if the government can give them, for us to allow for two months free electricity for Nigerians, they would be able to guarantee it.
“We have the figures. I think we should look very seriously into that as part of our package for economic stimulus because stimulus means something that will stimulate the economy. When you are stimulating the economy, most of it will come from the informal sector.
“When you are saving people their electricity and the fact that they now have stable electricity for two months, you are also saving the monies that would go into the payment of those bills at least for two months.”