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N194bn Covid-19 Allocations To Three States Missing, BudgIT Alleges

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N209.61billion Covid-19 allocation made to Enugu, Sokoto, Delta and Kaduna states, only N14.73billion was disbursed by the states.

The revelation was contained in findings by transparency and accountability civil society organisations, BudgIT; and Follow The Money International. They revealed that the sum of N50.13 billion was earmarked for Covid-19 related spendings in Delta State in the 2020 budget but only N4.92billion was expended, creating a shortfall of N41.21billion.

Representative of Follow The Money International, Pearl Utuk, presented the findings at a press conference organised by BudgIT in Abuja, last Saturday. She said, “An allocation of N50.13 billion was earmarked for Covid-19 related spending in Delta State 2020 budget, N4.92 billion was expended, creating a shortfall of N41.21 billion.

“In the same light, the Enugu State Primary Health care Development Agency, the agency saddled with the responsibility of administering the Covid-19 vaccine in the state, got zero out of the N1.45 billion allocated to it for capital spending in 2020, according to the 2020 Financial Statement of the Office of the Accountant General of Enugu State.

“Sokoto received the sum of N1.17 billion as Covid-19 donations from different sources and allocated N525.47 million to Covid-19 related initiatives.
“In the same light, Kaduna State spent just N9.29 billion out of its N156.86 billion Covid-19 budget, with N6.53 billion spent on health and N171.54 billion on social protection.

“It was also discovered that funds were mismanaged and distribution of palliatives was largely hijacked by politicians for their party supporters rather than the vulnerable members of the society. This led to the vandalization of Covid-19 palliatives warehouses in the various states.

“On vaccine distribution, the civil society organisations observed that most Primary Health Care Centres responsible for the administration of the vaccine lacked required amenities and most health workers decried poor remuneration and inadequate personal protective equipment.”
In the light of its observations, BudgIT called on state governments to establish a dedicated fund for epidemic preparedness and health security as well as stipulated guidelines for accessing such funds.
“State governments should institute mechanisms to incentivise vaccine uptake by citizens. State governments should intensify collaboration with CSOs to improve the sensitization on Covid-19 acceptance.

“In the aftermath of the pandemic, state governments should improve investments in healthcare infrastructure to enhance the capacity of the states to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.”

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