By Victor Tunde Oso
To prevent mismanagement of funds donated by philanthropists and wealthy Nigerians to provide succour owing to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria ACGPN, has urged the Federal Government to establish the proper accountability regime and ensure that it publishes statement of account on daily basis in this regard.
In a statement issued by ACPGN Registrar, Olufemi Mosaku-Johnson said it must be established that donated funds must be judiciously spent, dependent on the accountability mechanisms put in place by the implementing body. It is therefore expected that the CBN should keep a minimum set of financial statements e.g. statement of comprehensive income, statements of financial support and cash flow statements.
The Federal Government had a few weeks ago approved a N10 billion grant to Lagos State to fight the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The President is also releasing a N5 billion special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, the agency at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, collating numbers and responding to suspected cases of the virus.
Wealthy Nigerians and organizations, including banks, have also donated billions of Naira to help fund medical centers and provide essential materials necessary to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Many banks have announced donations to provide beds for isolation centers, intensive care unit facilities and direct access to medical advice to citizens every day. Wealthy members of the private sector including Femi Otedola, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Herbert Wigwe, Segun Agbaje and Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, all contributed N1 billion each to support the government in curtailing the pandemic in Nigeria.
According to Mosaku-Johnson, the citizens’ involvement in oversight of this fund should be adequate and the satisfaction of those that were affected by this virus and the citizens should be established. Donors were keen on compliance to the laws of the country and also involved the oversight bodies such as professional bodies, and corporate governance institutions in checking compliance.
He said it should be established that donors expected performance measurements to be done and that CBN prepare specific reports in this regard. The donors also demand that the financial statements and authenticity of spending be verified by independent auditors.
“ACGPN therefore recommends that CBN should to come up with proper and effective accountability mechanisms, which will measure performance, enhance legitimacy and accountability. This will include the use of proper performance measurement tools, compliance to both donors and government regulations in order to secure sustained financing to battle the virus and ensure that the health development agenda of the country is achieved,” he said.
ACGPN further recommends that the CBN procure the services of recognized audit firms on pro bono basis that will offer value adding audits which in effect will boost donors’ confidence and enable the country to achieve its aim in this fight.