April 27, 2022

Emergency economic stimulus bill minimise Impact of Covid-19 on Nigerians

Commercial activities around the globe were halted due to the spread of the virus

Abiola Durodola
Last Updated
April 28, 2022
min read

The impact of Covid-19 on the global economy is far-reaching. Commercial activities around the globe were halted due to the spread of the virus. Nigeria saw its index case in Lagos on February 27, 2020. On March 29, 2020, the country’s president announced the lockdown of its major cities.

Subsequently, a nationwide lockdown hit different sectors of the country including its growing informal sector. The effect of the lockdown on Nigeria’s urban poor was enormous as many informal sector workers were forced to stay indoors. One of the House of Representatives (HoR) immediate term interventions on the economy were to ‘initiate, pass and codify special legislations’ in response to the impacts of Covid-19.

In ensuring the fulfilment of this pledge, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the HoR presented the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020 to the house. The bill was fast-tracked and passed its first, second, and third reading on March 24, 2020. It was eventually passed by the legislators in March 2020 after consideration.

“The House intends to shut down today but before shutting down it is imperative to take two items for today and leave something for the Nigerian people,” said Femi Gbajabiamila during the plenary session on March 24, 2020.

Promise: Initiation, passage, and codification of special interventions/legislations in response to impacts of COVID-19 such as stimulus packages, tax rebates, loan repayment wavers etc., especially for MSMEs

Through the bill, the HoR prioritized the individuals, employers (particularly MSMEs), employees and importers of medical equipment. Thus, the HoR seeks to “provide temporary relief to companies and individuals to alleviate the adverse financial consequences of a slowdown in economic activities brought on by the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease in Nigeria,” with the bill.

The bill passed by the HoR also had specific provisions such as Rate of Tax and Special Tax Rebate, Deferral of Payment of Mortgages under the National Housing Fund, and Import Duty Waivers on Medicines and Medical Goods.

The measures in the bill according to PLAC, a non-governmental organization based in Abuja are “similar to efforts of some other countries around the world who seek to cushion the economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on their citizens.”

The organization likened it to the $2trn relief that was passed by the United States Congress and the £30bn emergency stimulus package which was announced by the United Kingdom.

The HoR succeeded in initiating, passing and codifying special interventions and legislation in response to the impacts of Covid-19. We rate this Promise Kept.