June 15, 2024

National Assembly Begins Probe Into Mismanaged N83billion Covid-19 Funds



By: JP Ashedzi


After a motion was moved on Tuesday during plenary by Nyampa Zakari, a PDP member from Adamawa State, the House of Representatives has directed the Committee on Public Account to look into claims of improper handling of COVID-19 intervention funding.


Zakari claimed in his motion that numerous ministries and organisations misused the COVID-19 intervention monies during the pandemic.


According to PUNCH, the parliamentarian said that the federal budget had earmarked more than N183.9 billion for the intervention money, adding that money was donated to the coffers by other international donors.


“The disruption of economic activity made it necessary to implement several programmes, laws, and interventions to help families, small enterprises, and public corporations and to strengthen their economies.


“To battle the COVID-19 pandemic on the populace, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched several initiatives, including financial provisions and money from international donor organisations.


“A sum of N83.9 billion was appropriated for the COVID-19 response in the 2020 Appropriation Act, as well as another sum of over N100 billion as intervention funds through the supplementary budget and international donor agencies,” the lawmaker added.


The alleged mishandling, according to Mr. Zakari, was detailed in one of the Auditor General’s reports.

He said that the poor handling would discourage future donations to Nigeria from donor organisations.


“Auditor-General’s report and other sources reveal that significant funds for COVID-19 palliatives and international donations were diverted and unaccounted for by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.


“Lack of proper accountability of funds allocated for COVID-19 intervention by the federal government and global donor agencies could potentially lead to negative economic ratings and loss of opportunities for Nigeria,” he said.


Speaking on the motion, Borno APC member Ahmed Jaha stated that the probe was essential because the House has already been charged with receiving benefits from the COVID-19 intervention money.

Imagine how many schools would have been built if each constituency received N500 million, Mr. Jaha said.


As a result, the House instructed the committee to look into the COVID-19 intervention funds distributed to federal ministries, departments, and agencies between 2020 and 2022 and provide a report within four weeks for additional legislative action.

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