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FG establishes framework to ensure transparent use of COVID-19 donations

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The office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has established a new framework to ensure that all donations by corporate bodies and spirited Nigerians are transparently used under the Treasury Single Account for the purpose of tackling the deadly COVID-19 disease.

A press statement by Henshaw Ogubike, Director (Information and Press), office of the accountant general of the federation noted that to that effect, the OAGF will ensure that the N25.8 billion donation by Nigerians to the fund and all other donations are transparently spent.

” In Nigeria; the organized private sector, wealthy individuals and ordinary
citizens are rising to the occasion through financial and material donations
or the provision of critical medical facilities and equipment as well as
palliatives for vulnerable citizens.

“According to a statement by the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, April 17 2020; donations to the Private
Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the CBN
was N25.8 billion,” Ogubike said.

The statement noted that in addition to the main CACOVID Fund Account with CBN; President Muhammadu Buhari
has approved the opening of five COVID-19 Donor Accounts in five commercial banks which formed part of the existing TSA arrangement.

According to the statement, the banks include; Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA and
First Bank.

” Federal Government recognizes citizens expectation that these resources
be prudently applied towards the fight against COVID19. In accord with
citizens expectations, Government is committed to managing these funds
with the highest sense of transparency and integrity.

” This Framework is therefore designed to articulate the measures put in
place by Government for the transparent and accountable management of
COVID-19 Donor Funds as an expression of its commitment towards bridging the trust gap.

” The TSA Sub Account in commercial banks are to be used for the purposes
of receiving COVID-19 donations only. On no account shall any other fund
of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
be deposited into the accounts or any other account in commercial banks.

“All other government accounts are to bemaintained at the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN), in line with the Presidential directive on TSA, the TSA
Guidelines and related extant Circulars.

” All accounts with commercial banks are to be linked with the TSA at CBN to
provide a single consolidated view of aggregate Government cash balances.

” This will provide a single window for real time access to details of receipts
and payments across all commercial bank accounts. In the absence of a
ready tool to accomplish this requirement, the current CBN Payment
Gateway may be deployed.

” All collections into the Commercial bank accounts are to be swept into FGN
Sub-Recurrent Account with the CBN.

” Failure to sweep all balances within
24 hours shall be deemed a violationof the Presidential directive on TSA
which shall attract sanctions.

” Disbursements of all COVID19 Fund including those being collected
directly by CBN and those domiciled with commercial banks shall be through appropriation.

” The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning may
liaise with the National Assembly for emergency passage of a supplementary budget for the utilization of COVID-19 donation based on estimated total collection for the year.

” Funds are to be appropriated directly to participating MDAs and spending
units like Ministry of Health, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Nigerian
Centre for Disease Control, etc rather than to an intermediary agency like
the Presidential TaskForce (PTF).

” Administrative cost of the PTF shall be
appropriated separately to the PTF Secretariat.

” The advantage is that the respective spending units and their Accounting
Officers take full responsibility for funds appropriated to them and likely
bottlenecks at the PTF are eliminated.

” Furthermore, transparency is
enhanced when funds are spread to more MDA than when a huge amount is
put under the control of a single entity.

” Given that there is a national emergency to which everyone including NASS is invested in addressing, there is no doubt that NASS will be willing to fast
track its passage.This will bind all spending units to the Appropriation Act and, infact, provide the greatest measure of credibility and transparency to
the management of the donation.

” To ensure equity and transparency in fund allocation, the HMFB&NP may
work with the PTF to determine the needs of participating MDA such as
Health, Humanitarian Affairs, NCDC, etc.
Affected MDAs shall present details of their needs together with estimated
cost. This will form the basis for allocation of funds and enables post
expenditure reporting and audit.

” Funds are to be transferred to TSA Sub
Accounts of spending units based onapproved allocations.

” For collection of donations and disbursements therefrom, a newline for
COVID19 Donations under Fund Source segment is to be added to the
Chart of Accounts.

” This will make it possible for all receipts and payments relating to COVID19 Fund to be uniquely tracked and reported,” the statement partly reads.

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