NEWS

Reps To Probe Utilisation Of COVID-19 Funds By MDAs

The House of Representatives has decided to investigate the allocation of funds given to government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) for COVID-19 relief efforts.

This decision came after Rep. Nyampa Zakari (APC-Adamawa) presented a motion during a session on Tuesday.

In his motion, Zakari highlighted the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged in 2019 and affected families, businesses, and economies globally. He pointed out that the pandemic resulted in loss of lives, jobs, and economic opportunities for millions of households, both in Nigeria and around the world.

Zakari emphasized that the pandemic disrupted economic activities, leading to widespread measures like lockdowns, travel restrictions, business closures, and government shutdowns to contain the virus. This disruption of economic activities necessitated the introduction of various programs, policies, and interventions to stimulate the economies of families, small businesses, and public entities.

“Mindful of that the Federal Government of Nigeria initiated several measures including budgetary provisions as well as funding from international donor agencies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic on the citizens;

“Also aware that a sum of N83.9 nillion 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 supplementary budget and international donor agencies.“

“The 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 agencies of government.

“Concerned that the 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

Rep. Ahmed Jaha (APC-Borno) added that the funds allocated for intervention could have been sufficient to establish fully equipped hospitals in all 360 federal constituencies across the nation. He also raised concerns about some of the funds being utilized for road construction projects that were unrelated to the primary goal of safeguarding public health at the time.

In his decision, the Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, instructed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to conduct an inquiry into the expenditure and provide a report within four weeks for subsequent legislative measures.

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