BudgIT’s Principal Lead, Gabriel Okeowo.
by Barnabas Esiet.
BudgIT, a civic organization committed to fiscal transparency, has launched a platform for the effective tracking and monitoring of the utilization of all donations from both local and international donors for COVID-19 response.
The platform hosted on (https://civichive.org/covidtracka/), through the network of project tracking officers across the country, would also monitor the distribution of palliatives to the underprivileged and vulnerable communities across all states.
In a statement, the civil society organization noted that recent crash in global oil prices and reduced demand for oil in the global market has resulted in at least a 60% cut in oil proceeds, which is the federal government’s main source of revenue.
“This invariably means that the economy is now stretched thin of resources, thus, every fund earmarked by the government for COVID-19 response out of the already limited resources and donations from external bodies need to be judiciously spent and accounted for.” The statement read.
“To ensure proper monitoring, we have launched the COVID-19 platform, to ascertain if funds are being expended on not only measures that effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but also on citizens’ welfare.” BudgIT said.
So far, the federal government and sub-nationals have received a sum of over N200bn from local and international donations in cash and in kind. Recently, the IMF also approved its largest COVID-19 emergency financing package of $3.4bn Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) for Nigeria.
This financing package is primarily meant to support the health care sector and assist to cushion the effects of revenue decline on the economy.
“It has therefore become expedient to hold the government accountable on every penny dispensed for the COVID-19 response, if these emergency donations are not properly tracked, monitored and accounted for, the funds can be misappropriated, embezzled and diverted into private coffers, without any tangible impact or benefit to the health sector, citizens and the economy as a whole.” BudgIT’s Principal Lead, Gabriel Okeowo, said.
BudgIt urged the government to be committed to open data and full transparency by making available, comprehensive and detailed breakdown of how funds are dispensed on health infrastructure and citizens’ welfare.
It also enjoin members of the public and other CSOs to collaborate to support BudgIT in demanding accountability from both the federal government and the sub nationals through the COVID-TRACKA platform.