CSOs allege fraud in FG’s conditional cash transfer programme
A social accountability initiative, Follow The Money have questioned the method adopted by the federal government in it’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme aimed at cushioning the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable Nigerians.
Follow The Money founder, Hamzat Lawal, who made the claims at a conference on COVID Transparency and Accountability Project in Abuja, insisted that Nigerians were shortchanged in the process.
According to Lawal, instead of the government to leverage on technology in the process to ensure transparency and accountability, it rather adopted manual method, paving way for endemic corruption.
He disclosed plans by the group to deploy it’s over 9000 follow the money champions to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to collect data and publish information on how covid 19 intervention impacted at the grassroot.
He stated: “Some of those who benefitted from the homegrown school feeding program and the conditional cash transfer had a shortfall too because government was saying that they didn’t have enough money which was strange because people where under paid.
“Technology should play a big role on conditional cash transfer but for me I call it conditional cash payment because if it is a transfer, it will move from one bank account to another and citizens can independently monitor how the money is moving because when you withdrawal billions of naira in cash and you count and give people definitely there will be corruption.
“Even given citizens money by hand works against the cashless policy, generate loopholes for corrupt practices.
“We you go to the grassroots alot citizens will tell you that they only hear about palliative from the Radio but on the ground there is nothing happening.
“We are not satisfied with how government is providing palliative and stimulus packages for citizens.”
Identifying procurement processes a pool for corruption, he urged the government to publish information during the time of emergency.
On government borrowing, Lawal said the group was worried about government borrowings without providing information on how they intend to pay back the loans.
“We are very much concerned knowing that there is a shortfall in revenue and increase in unemployment and how government is able to generate revenue particularly taxing citizens.
“Data shows that we have an increase in loan but we have not seen any strategy on how this loans will be paid back and as a young citizen I am worried because I know that this are loans that my generation will pay back because these politicians are old and the government is not engaging the younger people.
A research and policy analyst at Budgit, Vahyala Kwaga, who said collecting and re-packaging of palliatives by lawmakers before distributing them was a civil wrong, urged Civil society and the media to put pressure on the government to do the right thing.