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Coronavirus: Nigerian govt spent N30.5b to fight virus in four months

THE Federal Government has explained how it disbursed N30, 540,563,571.09 between April 1 and August 30 out of the funds it got as donations to fight COVID-19.

The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) raised N36.3 billion to support the Federal Government’s battle against the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) coordinated and warehoused the funds being managed by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).

The funds are released by the OAGF to government agencies to strengthen the anti-COVID-19 fight.

Yesterday’s explanation was a response to a request by 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 (FoI) Act.

According to a report by the Premium Times, the OAGF responded to the request by saying that N30, 540,563,571.09 was spent, “representing 84 per cent 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 in its response that “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.”

But 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 organisations, “of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations received, N1.4 billion 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 N48 million; the Petroleum Equalisation Management Board gave N50 million while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) donated N70 million.”

The groups asked the Accountant-General of the Federation (A-GF), Mr. Idris Ahmed, to supply the following:

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