Politics

Buhari approves 5 accounts for COVID-19 donations

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the opening of 5 COVID-19 Donor Accounts which form a part of the prevailing Treasury Single Account (TSA) arrangement in five commercial banks.

Mr Henshaw Ogubike, Director Information and Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, made this known during a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ogubike disclosed that the approved banks were Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA and First Bank.

He explained that the framework covered all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 including the Fiscal Stimulus Package also as all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the federal towards the fight against COVID-19 and therefore the mitigation of its social and economic effects on citizens.

He said Buhari’s directive also included donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the financial institution of Nigeria (CBN).

The Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), as of April 23, realised about N27,160 billion.

According to him, federal recognises citizens expectation that these resources be prudently applied towards the fight against COVID-19.

“In accordance with citizens expectations, government is committed to managing these funds with the very best sense of transparency and integrity.

“This framework is therefore designed to articulate the measures put in situ 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 needs of receiving COVID-19 donations only. On no account shall the other fund of federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA) be deposited into the accounts or the other account in commercial banks.

“All other government accounts are to be maintained at the CBN in line with the Presidential Directive on TSA, the TSA Guidelines and related extant Circulars.

“And all accounts with commercial banks are to be linked with the TSA at CBN to supply one consolidated view of aggregate government cash balances.

“This will provide one window for real time access to details of receipts and payments across all full service bank accounts. within the absence of a ready tool to accomplish this requirement, the present CBN Payment gateway could also be deployed,” he explained.

The director stated that each one collections into the full service bank accounts were to be swept into Federal Government’s Sub-Recurrent Account with the CBN and failure to comb all balances within 24 hours should be deemed a violation of the Presidential Directive on TSA and would attract sanctions.

He further said that the disbursements of all COVID-19 Fund including those being collected directly by CBN and people domiciled with commercial banks shall be through appropriation.

According to him, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning may liaise with the National Assembly for emergency passage of a supplementary allow the use of COVID-19 donation supported estimated total collection for the year.

“Funds are to be appropriated on to participating MDA and spending units like Ministry of Health, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, among others instead of to an intermediary agency just like the Presidential Task Force (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 certain bottlenecks at the PTF are eliminated.

“Furthermore, transparency is enhanced when funds are spread to more MDA than when an enormous amount is anesthetize the control of one entity.

“Given that there’s a national emergency to which everyone including National Assembly is invested in addressing, there’s little question that legislature are going to be willing to means its passage.

“This will bind all spending units to the Appropriation Act and, in fact, provide the best measure of credibility and transparency to the management of the donation.

“To ensure equity and transparency in fund allocation, the Minister of Finance may go with the PTF to work out the requirements of participating MDA like Health, Humanitarian Affairs, NCDC among others.

“Affected MDAs shall present details of their needs along side estimated cost. this may form the idea for allocation of funds and enables post expenditure reporting and audit. Funds are to be transferred to TSA Sub Accounts of paying units supported approved allocations,” he added.

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