Following growing anxiety over shortage of ventilators in the country amid ravaging coronavirus – COVID-19, a federal lawmaker from Bauchi, Mansur Soro (APC), has suggested that all the 360 members of the Federal House of Representatives can support the nation with their March salaries to provide the much-needed equipment.
A ventilator is a machine that pumps air in and out of the lungs and it is essential in the treatment of coronavirus patients because the deadly disease affects the respiratory system.
Government officials have reportedly admitted that there are inadequate of the medical equipment in the country, a development which increase fear of the populace should the disease surge in the country.
In order to avert urgency in the need for the breathing machines, Soro in a statement made available to the media said that himself and the other 359 members of the House can fill this gap.
“Sacrifice epitomises leadership. I wish to humbly call on my honourable colleagues, the members of the House of Representatives,” he wrote in the statement. “Let’s sacrifice our March 2020 salaries and allowances to contribute N1 million each to procure ventilators.”
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According to the October edition of Legislative Digest, a periodical publication of the National Assembly, apart from car loans, furniture and severance gratuity, all of which are paid every four years, a member of the House earns N17 million per annum.
This consists of N9 million in basic salary and N8 million in allowances. This is roughly N1.4 million per month.
Soro, who represents Darazo/Ganjuwa federal constituency, said donating ₦1 million by each member would help Nigeria’s “healthcare facilities (which is) short of global minimum standards. Time is running out for Nigerian to fix the country’s healthcare delivery system.”
Said to cost between $25,000 and $50,000 (which, at N360 to a dollar, is N9 to N18 million), the cheapest ventilator could cost N9 million, if the global gloom has not affected its production and pricing.
This means, if all of the 360 members of the House donate N1 million each (N360 million in total), Nigeria would be able to purchase 40 ventilators.
Soro also said “the ventilators, when procured, can be distributed to public hospitals in the 36 states and FCT.”
“I believe, in addition to our legitimate duties of legislation, representation and oversight, we can make sacrifices to save the lives of the people we represent,” he added.