Global financing firm, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday named Nigeria among the 73 countries that have used its funding to fight Covid-19 pandemic.
The Fund stated this on its twitter handle on Wednesday where it mentioned other countries like Jamaica, Pakistan, and Ukraine among others that have shown how they used the money.
Nigeria accessed a total of N500 billion under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and a greater chunk of the money (N126bn) was spent on intervention, which the Federal government referred to as ‘building a resilient health system (Covid-19 health)’.
According to BusinessDay, the FG’s 2020 appropriation amendment signed by the national Assembly showed that North West zone got N10.54 billion, North East zone (N 9.70bn), North Central (N9.27bn), South-East zone (N8.5bn), Yobe State (N2.97bn), Edo (N2.65bn), Lagos (N2.19bn), and Kaduna (N2.05bn).
Other allocations include Borno State, which got N1.99 billion, Kogi (N1.93bn), Akwa Ibom (N1.92bn), Imo (N1.89bn), Delta (N1.87bn), and Cross River (N1.85bn), among others.
Intervention in support ‘supporting small businesses/Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) survival fund’, received a total of N75 billion.
The IMF said government spending has played a crucial role in combating the pandemic and its economic fallout. “To support the effectiveness of these efforts, it is critical that such spending be subject to adequate transparency and accountability. The IMF has called for such an approach, using the adage, “spend what you must, but keep the receipts.”
In line with this approach, the Washington based Fund said countries receiving IMF financing during the pandemic committed to implement measures to promote good governance and transparency.
These measures are tailored to country-specific circumstances and typically include actions such as publishing information on pandemic-related procurement contracts, publishing the beneficial owners of companies awarded these contracts, publicly reporting on pandemic-related spending, and/or undertaking and publishing ex-post audits of such spending.
In addition, it said all recipient countries commit to undertake a Safeguards Assessment—a due diligence exercise aimed at ensuring that a country’s central bank is able to provide reliable information and transparently manage the funds that it receives from the IMF.
For Nigeria, the IMF said Pandemic-related procurement contracts were published according to specific guidelines. Procurement contracts above N5 million were published on the Ministry of Finance’s portal (access remains uneven).
On beneficial ownership of contracting companies, it said the corporate registry started to publish the list of persons with significant control since January 2021 as the implementation of the new Companies and Allied Matter Act (CAMA) started. Companies incorporated prior to CAMA implementation date (January 3, 2021) have disclosed beneficial ownership, and the companies formed after the date were required to disclose it once their annual return for the first fiscal year is completed.
In terms of audits, the Fund said the Office of the Accountant General (OAGF) commissioned an audit unit to undertake a financial audit of COVID-19 spending. The Auditor General’s office was conducting audits of the spending utilisation across procurement agencies— with the first audit recently conducted and the report being drafted.
“Given decentralised auditing authority due to Nigeria’s federal structure, a single national audit report is deemed infeasible. Reporting, specific budget lines were created to facilitate tracking and reporting of emergency response expenditures for 2020 but have not been used subsequently,” the IMF said.Follow us on social media