Rep. Zakari worried that the lack of accountability for COVID-19 intervention funds could affect Nigeria’s economic rating.
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged misappropriation of Covid-19 intervention funds released between 2020 to 2022.
The resolution is contained in a motion seeking “Investigation of Alleged Mismanagement of COVID-19 Intervention Funds from 2020 to 2022.”
Sponsor of the motion, Rep. Nyampa Dauda Zakari (PDP, Adamawa), in his lead debate, recalled that COVID-19 broke out as a major pandemic in 2019 affecting families, businesses, and economies of the nations of the world.
Zakari also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the loss of lives, jobs, and economic opportunities for millions of homes in different parts of the world including Nigeria.
According to him, in a bid to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the Nigerians and also combat it, the federal government initiated several measures including budgetary provisions as well as funding from International donor agencies.
“The disruption of economic activities necessitated the introduction of various programs, policies, and interventions to alleviate and boost the economies of families, small businesses, and public corporations.
“A sum of N83.9 Billion was also appropriated for the COVID-19 response in the 2020 Appropriation Act as well as another sum of over N100 Billion Naira as intervention funds through supplementary budget and international donor agencies.”
The lawmaker, however, observed that the Auditor-General’s report had earlier revealed that significant funds and international donations for palliatives during the pandemic remain unaccounted for by MDAs.
“Auditor-General’s report and other sources reveal that significant funds for COVID-19 palliatives and international donations were diverted and unaccounted for by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.
He added that the lack of accountability for intervention funds during the pandemic could affect the country’s economic rating.
“The lack of proper accountability of funds allocated for COVID-19 intervention by the Federal Government and global donor agencies could potentially lead to negative economic ratings and loss of opportunities for Nigeria,” he stated.
Consequently, the House mandated the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the expenditure of funds appropriated or disbursed as COVID-19 intervention funds to Government agencies within the period and report back within 4 weeks for further legislative action.