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COVID-19 Donations: CODE Tasks NCDC, Others On Transparency, Accountability

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A non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE), has tasked the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), for transparency and accountability on the donations to end the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, disclosed this yesterday, in Abuja. He said that the organisation’s following the spate of donations and interventions to tackle the current pandemic threatening the Nigerian healthcare system and other aspects of the nation’s wellbeing.

He said, “According to CODE, trust in Nigerian public institutions has recently been measured by lack of transparency, poor accountability and poor communication. However, the current crisis provides an opportunity for the Nigerian Government to regain citizens’ trust in its fight to end the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“While commending donations by well-meaning Nigerians and organisations, CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, noted that although donations have risen to N44 billion and counting, there is no clarity from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health on proper collation and disbursement.”

He further said that Nigerians must be given comprehensive data of interventions, recipient organisations of this fund and how judiciously they are being expended. Where is the breakdown of the 50 per cent contribution by the 43 Cabinet ministers who pledged half of their March 2020 Salary to support the FG’s effort to combat the COVID 19 pandemic in the country?

Lawal noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed in his COVID-19 speech that, “all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralised to ensure efficient and impactful spending.”

“How is the Presidential Task Force looking to effect this? What measures have the Ministry of Health, the NCDC and the Ministry of Finance put in place to collect, aggregate funds and ensure proper utilisation? These are pertinent questions that require timely responses.

“Now is the time for the government ministries to champion a culture of transparency, consistency and high-quality communications.

“CODE will utilise its social accountability platform, www.ifollowthemoney.org with over 5,300 members and its well structured community mobilisation strategy to advocate strongly for improved health-care facilities for all as the nation combats COVID-19.

“Citizens will be provided online tools to monitor, drive conversation to spark actions and advocate for a transparent and inclusive approach, urging government stakeholders to make public, all funds released for the fight against COVID-19 and its implementation plans,” he added

He recalled that CODE had, on several occasions, urged the Federal Government and the Ministry of Health to prioritise the Nation’s healthcare system, “our call for accountability and transparency in the sector was to prepare the country to tackle challenges that a pandemic like #COVID19 presents.”

Adding that the group is disturbed that the existing healthcare structure in the nation is not sufficient to combat the disturbed, especially with the prediction that COVID-19 cases in Nigeria may rise to up to 39,000.

“However, we are hopeful that the interventions and other non-monetary resources can cushion the gaps and develop Nigeria’s healthcare system.”

 

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