CSOs raises alarm over N195billion Covid-19 spending shortfall in Delta, Enugu, 2 others

{FILES] COVID-19 palliatives PHOTO: Business Day ng

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has queried N194.89billion Covid-19 spending shortfall in Delta, Enugu, Sokoto and Kaduna.

According to the transparency and accountability group, out of N209.61bn allocated for COVID-19 related spending across the four states of the federation, only N14.73billion was disbursed, leading to a spending shortfall of N194.89billion.

A representative of Follow The Money International, Pearl Utuk who revealed the findings from a survey championed by BudgIT and other accountability groups on Friday in Abuja said that while an allocation of N50.13billion was earmarked for Covid19 related spending in Delta State 2020 budget, only N4.92billion was expended, creating a shortfall of N41.21bn.

Maintaining that: “In the same light, the Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the agency saddled with the responsibility of administering the Covid-19 vaccine in the state, got zero out of the N1.45billion 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 N1.17billion as Covid-19 donations from different sources and allocated N525.47million to Covid-19 related initiatives.

“In the same light, Kaduna state spent just N9.29billion out of its N156.86bn Covid-19 budget, with N6.53billion spent on health and N171.54billion on social protection, she added.

According to her, It was also discovered that funds were mismanaged and the distribution of palliatives was largely hijacked by politicians for their party supporters rather than the vulnerable members of the society.

This she said, led to the vandalization of Covid-19 palliatives warehouses in the various states.

On vaccine distribution, the civic society organizations 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 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 incentivize 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,” it added.

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