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Nigeria not qualified for budget support by foreign agencies — Finance Ministry

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FG to unveil blueprint for economic diversification for Niger Delta
Clement Agba

…Country Gets $26.942 billion Foreign Devt Assistance in 6years
…As Reps Alleged Misuse of Donor Funds

By Tordue Salem, Abuja

Nigeria has received $26.942 billion Development Assistance funds from International Donors between 2015 and 2020, making her unqualified for further budgetary support, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The amount comprised $ 2.339 billion received in 2015, $1.150 billion gotten in 2016, $ 774.933 million collected in 2017, $22.016 bill obtained in 2018, $655.642 million received in 2019 and $5.639 million gotten in 2020.

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday while briefing House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society and Development Partners on Donor Funds Receipts, Transfers and Disbursement to Government Agencies, Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria.

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Agba explained that” these donations come from the European Development Fund (EDF); United Nations Development Systems (UNDS); China through the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China signed since1972; Japan Activities in Nigeria via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); Department for International Development DFID; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ)”.

The Minister, however, said his “Ministry does not receive donor funds, hence cannot transfer or disburse what is not received”, as he declared that” Nigeria does not currently qualify for Budget support because it is not classified as very poor but as a lower middle-income country that is only qualified for projects/programmes support”.

Agba said: “The implication of this is that Donors do not give us the funds for management, rather donors work with the sectoral stakeholders to fund the project directly after identifying the needs by the MDAs/States in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

“For the purpose of clarification, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning are responsible for coordinating Nigeria’s multilateral and bilateral economic cooperation including development Aid and Technical Assistance Programmes by signing of Cooperation Agreements (after obtaining Power of Attorney from Ministry of Foreign Affairs), facilitating the implementation of Programmes and Projects as well as Monitoring and Evaluation.

“In carrying out these functions, the role of the Ministry is to coordinate the Bilateral and Multilateral Institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)”.

According to him, “Interventions in these identified areas are done directly in collaboration with the relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAS) as well as States and Local Government Areas through their implementing Agencies. In view of the above, procurement is carried out directly by the Donors.

“In order to have a bird’s eye view of the grants/Aid given by donors, the Ministry maintains a Development Assistance Database (DAD). The DAB is a web-based dashboard that tracks spending by the International Development Partners, INGOs, etc. Donors are expected to upload spend across sectors to the DAB”.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Kabiru Idris, said “in line with its mandate, the Committee has received several petitions, alleging misappropriation, misuse, and diversion of donor funds, as well as falsification of performance reports for the purpose of obtaining more funds from Donor Agencies/Organizations.

“Also in line with its mandate, the Committee received a referral from the House of Representatives, mandating it to investigate the operations of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) so as to ascertain their sources of funding. their bases of operations and locations. This was after it had deliberated on a motion titled “Need for Special Intervention in the Protracted Situation in the Country”.

He added that “It was in the light of the foregoing, that we wrote you two letters, to brief the Committee on the following: How the Department of International Corporation has been carrying out its responsibilities of managing Multilateral and Bilateral Economic Cooperation including Development Aid and Technical Assistance Programmes.

“Donor funds received by Government Agencies and NonGovemmental Organizations (NGOs) from 2015 to date; and the operations of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), particularly those operating in the northeast, so as to ascertain their sources of funding, their bases of operations and their locations.

“The information gathered from this interaction will enable the Committee effectively carry out its oversight mandate as we“ as embarking on further engagements with NGOs, both local and international”.

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