Following donations and interventions rendered to tackle the current pandemic of COVID-19 threatening the globe and Nigeria’s healthcare system as well as other aspects of the nation’s wellbeing, a leading non-governmental organization, Connected Development (CODE), is holding the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on their transparency standards.
According to CODE, trust in Nigerian public institutions has recently been measured by lack of transparency, poor accountability and poor communication.
However, the current crisis provides an opportunity for the Nigerian government to regain citizens’ trust in its fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
While commending donations by well-meaning Nigerians and Organisations, CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, noted that although donations have risen to N44 billion, there is no clarity from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health on proper collation and disbursement.
He said that Nigerians must be given comprehensive data of interventions, recipient organisations of this fund and how judiciously they are being expended.
“We need the breakdown of the 50% contribution by the 43 Cabinet ministers who pledged half of their March 2020 Salary to support the FG effort to combat the COVID 19 pandemic in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed in his COVID-19 speech that “all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending.”
We need to know how the Presidential Task Force hopes to effect this and what measures have the Ministry of Health, the NCDC and the Ministry of Finance put in place to collect, aggregate funds and ensure proper utilization?
These are pertinent questions that require timely responses.
Now is the time for the government and ministries to champion a culture of transparency, consistency and high-quality communications.”
He noted that CODE will utilize its social accountability platform www.ifollowthemoney.org with over 5300 members and its well structured community mobilization strategy to advocate strongly for improved healthcare facilities for all as the nation combats COVID-19.
“Citizens will be provided online tools to monitor, drive conversation to spark actions and advocate for a transparent and inclusive approach, urging government stakeholders to make public all funds released for the fight against COVID-19 and its implementation plans, ” he said.
He however lamented that CODE had severally urged the Federal Government and the Ministry of Health to prioritise the Nation’s healthcare sector saying that the call for accountability & transparency in the sector was to prepare the country to tackle challenges that a pandemic like #COVID19 presents.
“Although we are disturbed that the existing healthcare structure in the nation is not sufficient to combat the pandemic, especially with present predictions of the that COVID 19 cases.
However, we are hopeful that the interventions and other non-monetary resources can cushion the gaps and develop Nigeria’s healthcare system. ”
Connected Development [CODE] is a non-governmental organization, whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa.
Its initiative, “Follow The Money”, advocates and tracks government/international aid spending in health, WASH, and education across grassroots and communities to promote and ensure open government and service delivery.