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COVID-19: We have no control, access to donations -FG

The Presidential Task Force on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has said it has no control over the multi-billion naira contributions have so far been announced by various donors towards the fight against the pandemic.

Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who gave clarifications to the operations of his special group and the modes of funds administration management being adopted in finding campaign efforts, said the only thing so far received by the task force was the materials donated recently by the founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma.

According to the SGF, there had so far been four fronts through which government, organisations, individuals and bodies had rallied to pool resources together to fight to COVID-19 in Nigeria, adding that only one of these fronts is linked directly with his task force.

Mustapha said there is the front being jointly coordinated by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and Alhaji Aliko Dangote; there is the front being coordinated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other interests within the nation’s oil and gas sector; then the third one being coordinated by the United Nations (UN) family.

These three fronts, he said, had their independent governance structures for the management of the resources, both financial and materials, generated within their loops, adding that they all had the auditing mechanism over which the Nigerian government had no control.

The fourth one, however, which he said is that government’s arrangement, only created an account for the operations and actions that the task force had been supervising since it was created, adding that no fund had yet been released into the account, which he said was just created on Wednesday. He said this is the only front where government has its control.

“Let me inform the nation that so far the Presidential Task Force has not received any donation directly, in terms of cash for this exercise. We have received materials, particularly the one from Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire and that has adequately been distributed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“The National Coordinator has just informed you that different organisations and individuals that have come out with their own efforts. So far, I know of four efforts. The first is the one that is being driven by the Central Bank and the corporate organisations, jointly being handled by the Governor of the Central Bank and Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

“They have spoken to the press about a week ago in Lagos, about how they will raise their funds, the committees that they have established, starting with the steering committee, which they have invited me to chair. They have a funding committee, an operation committee and they have a technical committee.

“They are going to run, fund and execute projects, buy equipment, all in furtherance of fighting the Coronavirus. At the end of their exercise, they have explained it in their document, that they will appoint an account officer that will take an audit of their exercise and make a report to the donors for the purposes of accountability and transparency. Government does not have control of those ones. The Presidential Task Force does not have control of those ones.

“The second effort is the one initiated by the NNPC, which involves clients in the upstream, the midstream and the upstream levels of the oil and gas industry. They also have their own processes, they have their governance culture and rules, they will raise their funds, they will liaise with the PTF, in the same manner that the Central Bank and corporate world is liaising with us, they will ask for locations, they will ask for list of equipment, we will supply them, they will raise their funds, they will administer their funds and at the end of the day, they will render accounts to the people that have donated through them for this particular enterprise. Governments does not have control over this particular endeavour.

“The third is the one being driven by the United Nations family. We do not have control over it. They will raise their funds from their own goverment, from their donor agencies and their partners. They will decide, based on our needs assessment, the kind of equipment, the kind of capacity building, the kind of products and facilities that we require. They will administer their funds, they will account to their donors. Government does not have control over them.

“The fourth source of funding is what goverment will put into the Coronavirus engagement. I have just received a letter from the Accountant-General, informing us of the account that has just been opened yesterday so obviously no fund has gone into any account. Hopefully In the coming days, we will receive funding for the work of Presidential Task Force in terms of the different components of the multilateral or multi-sectoral engagements. That is the one that goverment will have control over and at the end of the enterprise, we will account for it”, he explained.

SOURCE: TheNation