Business National News

FG to use COVID-19 funds for supplementary budget

The ministry of finance says the federal government will be using private sector COVID-19 donations to fund a 2020 supplementary budget.
The office of the accountant-general of the federation, via a new framework seen by TheCable, said “in addition to the main CACOVID Fund Account with CBN,” President Muhammadu Buhari has “approved the opening of five COVID-19 Donor Accounts”.
The accounts, which will be opened with Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA; and First Bank, will be subject to “existing TSA arrangement”.

The framework “covers all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against COVID 19 including the Fiscal Stimulus Package”.

“It also applies to all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the fight against COVID 19 and the mitigation of its social and economic effects on citizens at large including donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the CBN.”

According to the framework, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, may liaise with the national assembly for the passage of the 2020 supplementary budget so the funds can be unutilised.

“Disbursements of all COVID 19 Fund including those being collected directly by CBN and those domiciled with commercial banks shall be through appropriation,” the framework read.

“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 MDA 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 Task Force (PTF).”

The framework says this process is to “enhance” transparency, which is more likely “when funds are spread to more MDA than when a huge amount is put under the control of a single entity”.

The ministry of finance says this move is to ensure transparency in the utilisation of the COVID-19 funds, in line with the yearnings of the citizenry.

“All the requirements of the Financial Transparency Policy of the Federal Government shall be complied with. 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 violation of the Presidential directive on TSA which shall attract sanctions.

The framework said “it is mandatory for all participating MDA to provide information on all COVID-19 Fund transactions to any member of the public – individual or corporate – under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) within 7 days of receiving the request.

“Failure to publish timely report of COVID-19 activities in the prescribed format and at the stipulated intervals or to respond to FOI request will constitute early warning signs of mismanagement and shall be deemed as contravention of this Guideline.”

As of April 17, 2020 donations to the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) fund domiciled at the CBN was N25.8 billion.

The Bliss
Your No 1 Shop for relevant and updated news