Reps ask AGF to explain N100bn COVID-19 funds spending

Reps ask AGF to explain N100bn COVID-19 funds spending

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By Akinsuroju Olubunmi

Reps ask AGF to explain N100bn

COVID-19 funds spending.

Reps ask AGF to explain N100bn COVID-19 funds spending

The House of Representatives has given the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, a 72-hour ultimatum to provide a comprehensive report on the utilization of the N100 billion COVID-19 intervention funds that were approved and disbursed by the government during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, allocated to various ministries, departments, and agencies between 2020 and 2022.

Bamidele Salam, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, expressed disappointment over the AGF’s failure to comply with the committee’s resolution to submit the report by October 27, 2023. The committee had been mandated by the House to investigate the “expenditure incurred under the COVID-19 interventions, particularly from 2020 to 2022.”


Salam stated, “A letter was sent to the Accountant General requesting detailed information on all disbursements in accordance with the Appropriation Act and other interventions facilitated by releases from the Central Bank of Nigeria to various government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. The letter clearly stated that the submission was expected on or before October 27, 2023. Consequently, we are dispatching a representative to inform the Accountant General that she has not met the committee’s request. We had stated that if there were any valid reasons for her inability to meet that deadline, she should communicate with this committee to request an extension.”


As a result, he instructed the AGF to submit the report by the close of business on Friday, November 3, 2023.


The House’s decision followed the adoption of a motion addressing the ‘Alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022,’ which were allocated by the Federal Government to various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies during that period.


Leading the debate on the motion, Nyampa Zakari emphasized the lawmakers’ role in uncovering mismanagement of public funds. He lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives, jobs, and economic opportunities, both globally and in Nigeria.


Zakari said, “The House is aware that the Federal Government of Nigeria implemented several measures, including budgetary provisions and funding from international donor agencies, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The House is also aware that a sum of N83.9 billion was allocated for the COVID-19 response in the 2020 Appropriation Act, along with an additional sum of over N100 billion as intervention funds through supplementary budgets and international donor agencies. The House is disturbed by reports from the Auditor-General and other sources indicating that significant funds for COVID-19 palliatives and international donations were diverted and unaccounted for by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the government. As of now, we have not received input from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. This is a crucial document that will guide our proceedings in the investigation that the House has tasked us with, within a specific timeframe. The House is concerned that the lack of proper accountability for 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.”

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