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CSOs query utilisation of $51billion fund for COVID-19 fight in Nigeria

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
11 July 2021   |   4:09 am
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have questioned the utilisation of about $51.05 billion committed to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and other African countries.

(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have questioned the utilisation of about $51.05 billion committed to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and other African countries.

Chief Executive Officer for BudgIT, Gabriel Okeowo made the demand at the launch of a COVID Africa Tracking Website yesterday in Abuja.

The website, which is a brainchild of social accountability initiatives, Follow the Money, BudgIT, and Global Integrity and part of the COVID19 Transparency & Accountability Project (CTAP) was designed to provide African citizens with access to evidence on COVID resources, leading social accountability initiatives.

Okeowo noted that while Africa receives billions of dollars as grants for COVID-19 response and intervention programme, most of the funds are unaccounted for, adding that the continent’s public finances suffer from a lack of accountability.

“In tracking government’s level of responsiveness, we have shown, through data on the CTAP website, overarching issues such as discrepancies in palliatives and cash transfer distributions, substandard healthcare compounded by the pandemic, disintegration of COVID data, vague procurement processes and blatant corruption by government officials,” he added.

Speaking, Founder, Follow The Money, Hamza Lawal, while noting that the website was part of the COVID-19 Transparency & Accountability Project (CTAP), said conditions of primary healthcare centres in the country have further deteriorated during the pandemic.

According to him, a significant number of health centres have fallen below the minimum PHC standard set by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with their grossly dilapidated infrastructure, poor and inadequate staffing, and incapacity to administer vaccines.

“Our primary goal for designing the website is to improve citizens’ use of data for advocacy and government engagement in a manner that promotes transparency, accountability and open governance,” Lawal added.