FG spends N30.5bn in four months to fight COVID-19

 The Federal Government said it has spent N30,540,563,571.09 donated funds to fight COVID-19 from 1st April to 30th July, 2020.

A total of N36.3 billon was donated by Nigerians to the Federal Government under the CACOVID initiatives at the perk of the pandemic.

While the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) coordinated and warehoused the collection, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) managed and released the funds to government agencies to fight COVID-19.

Recently, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Connected Development (CODE) had requested from OAGF details of COVID-19 spending under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).

The OAGF responded to the request stating N30,540,563,571.09 was spent, “representing 84% of the N36.3 billon public funds and donations received to respond to COVID-19 between 1st April, 2020 and 31st July, 2020, leaving the balance of N5.9 billion.”

The OAGF revealed: “The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion and 36 states spent N7 billion to support their COVID-19 initiatives; the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spent N877 million for deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; while the Nigeria Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment. N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.”

However SERAP and CODE are demanding from the OAGF “specific details and additional information on the spending of N34.4billion between April and July, and details on plans to spend the balance of the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.”

According to the two advocacy organisations “of the N36.3billion public funds and donations received, N1.4billion came from Nigerians and companies through accounts at the First Bank; Access Bank; GTB, Zenith, and UBA, while N536million donations were made through the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]. The N536 million donations comprise of N89million and N279million from the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.”

“In addition, China General Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria donated N48million; the Petroleum Equalization Management Board gave N50million while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated N70million.”

The groups are asking Idris to provide them with the following:

Details and breakdown of where the N34.4billion public funds from the Federal Government came from, and whether or not the money was duly appropriated by the National Assembly; Details of specific projects and activities on which the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has spent the N22.16billion, which represents 72% of the money spent, including how the spending has directly or indirectly benefited Nigerians, as well as details of names of any such beneficiaries;

“Details and breakdown of money, if any, spent to provide personal protective equipment to Nigerian doctors and medical workers who are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19;

“Details and breakdown of the N7billion given to 36 states and the specific amount of money collected by each state. This money represents 23% of the total amount spent within 4 months;

“Details and breakdown of the N877million [2.9% of the money] spent by the Nigerian Air Force for deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations, as well as the nature of any such operations;

“Details and breakdown of the N500million [1.6% of the money] spent by the Nigeria Police on personal protective equipment;

“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation should also take steps to approach and request from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police Force, and the 36 states any of the details highlighted above, if the information is not held by your Office, in line with the provisions of the FoI Act.”

When The Nation contacted spokesman for the OAGF Mr Henshaw Ogubike, he said he has forwarded the report to the Accountant General of the Federation Mr Idris Ahmed but would get an official statement on the report on Monday


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