Reps set 72-hour ultimatum for AGF to provide comprehensive report on N100bn COVID-19 Funds
The House of Representatives has set a 72-hour ultimatum for the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, to provide a comprehensive report on the utilization of the N100 billion COVID-19 intervention funds, which were approved and disbursed by the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to various ministries, departments, and agencies between 2020 and 2022.
Chairing the House Committee on Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam, expressed disappointment in the AGF’s failure to adhere to the committee’s resolution to submit the report by October 27, 2023.
The committee was tasked by the House with investigating the “expenditure incurred under the COVID-19 interventions, especially in the years 2020 through 2022.”
Salam emphasized, “A letter was dispatched to the Accountant General, requesting detailed information on all disbursements in accordance with the Appropriation Act and other interventions provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria to various government ministries, departments, and agencies. The deadline for this submission was October 27, 2023.”
“As of this moment, we have not received the requested information from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation,” Salam added.
The report is crucial in guiding the committee’s investigation, as mandated by the House, within a specific timeframe. Salam continued, “We are sending you (Deputy Director in the Office of the AGF) now to convey to the Accountant General that she has not complied with the committee’s request. We had indicated that if there were valid reasons for the delay, she should communicate with the committee and request an extension.”
In response, the AGF has been directed to submit the report by the end of the working day on Friday, November 3, 2023.
This House resolution comes in the wake of a motion concerning the ‘Alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022,’ which were allocated by the Federal Government to various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies during that period.
The motion, led by Nyampa Zakari, emphasized the critical role of lawmakers in uncovering corruption in the use of public funds. Zakari lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives, jobs, and economic opportunities, both in Nigeria and globally.
Zakari noted, “The House acknowledges that the Federal Government of Nigeria initiated several measures, including budgetary provisions and funding from international donor agencies, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also aware that a total of N83.9 billion was allocated for the COVID-19 response in the 2020 Appropriation Act, as well as an additional sum of over N100 billion in intervention funds through supplementary budgets and international donors.”
He further expressed concern about the lack of transparency in accounting for these funds, warning that it could result in negative economic repercussions and missed opportunities for Nigeria.