FG releases framework to manage COVID-19 donor funds

By Chika Otuchikere

The federal government has released a framework for the transparent and accountable management of the COVID-19 donor funds under the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

The framework made available by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) said the framework is to ensure that the funds are prudently applied to meet the expectation of the Nigerian people.

According to the release, the framework which covers all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against COVID 19, including the Fiscal Stimulus Package.

It also applies to all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the fight against COVID 19 and the mitigation of its social and economic effects on citizens, including donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the CBN.

The release also provides clarity on the operation of the five newly opened COVID- 19 Donor TSA Sub-Accounts domiciled in commercial banks. The participating commercial banks are Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA and First Bank.

All accounts with commercial banks are to be linked with the TSA at CBN to provide a single consolidated view of aggregate Government cash balances. This is aimed to provide a single window for real time access to details of receipts and payments across all commercial bank accounts.

The framework also stipulates that all collections into the Commercial bank accounts are to be swept into FGN Sub-Recurrent Account with the CBN. Failure to sweep all balances within 24 hours, it stated, shall be deemed a violation of the Presidential directive on TSA which shall attract sanctions.

The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is expected to publish a Daily Treasury Statement for COVID-19 Fund outlining all the inflows into the Fund and all the outflows. The inflow information shall indicate the source of the funds while the outflow information shall indicate the MDA responsible for each payment out of the Fund.

MDA on their part, are expected to publish a Daily Payment Report indicating the Beneficiary, Purpose of the Payment and the amount for any payment above N5 million made out of the COVID-19 Fund.

These publications would be made on the Open Treasury Portal ( not later than one week following the respective transaction.

The framework stated: “In addition each MDA shall publish a detailed report of its activities relating to COVID-19 Fund on its website at the end of every week. The Monthly Budget Performance Report for the COVID-19 Fund shall be published on the Open Treasury Portal not later than 14 days following the end of the month.

“In addition, a comprehensive report of all receipts and payments shall be published on the OAGF Transparency Portal as well as other Government websites including those of Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) not later than two weeks following the end of the pandemic.

“Furthermore, it is mandatory for all participating MDA to provide information on all COVID-19 Fund transactions to any member of the public – individual or corporate – under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) within 7 days of receiving the request”.

The framework noted that Failure to publish timely report of COVID-19 activities in the prescribed format and at the stipulated intervals or to respond to FOI request would constitute early warning signs of mismanagement and shall be deemed as contravention of this Guideline.

While the framework stipulates comprehensive audits of the accounts by the MDAs and the OAGF, it reminded participating MDA that the COVID Fund is a public fund which the public would be interested in, and so, must ensure that the funds are utilized in the most transparent and prudent manner.

“For this reason, any participating MDA that contravenes this Guideline may be sanctioned from continued participation in the programme.

“Also, the names of the MDA and its principal officers shall be made public as additional measure of transparency,” it noted.

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