BACKGROUND TO DELIBERATIONS
The Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) with support from the MacArthur Foundation held a town hall meeting against corruption on November 20th, 2020. The theme of the town hall meeting was; THE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION IN COVID-19 FUNDS MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA AND THE CHALLENGES.
The meeting was used to discuss investigative reports indicting federal government Ministries Agencies and Departments (MDAs) of indulging in different corrupt acts in COVID-19 procurement and proffered solutions on how to stop corruption in public procurement generally.
Speakers at the meeting were:
Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, Manager at Civic Hive; Aderemi Ojekunle, Senior Data Reporter at Dataphyte;
Amos Abba: Reporter at International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR);
Uzochukwu Ohanyere, Community Engagement Officer at Connected Development (CODE) and Jonathan Ipaa, Political Editor at Daily Vendor Online.
Participants from Civil Society Organisations include: Abubakar Isiaka, IDPC; Peace Ani, SERDEC; Hadizat Nuhu, FOMWAM; Idris Omesi, NDI; Mark Amaza, Mind Capital; Charles Ogili, Center for Leadership Legacy and Gloria Eme, Nala Foundation.
While, participants from the media include: Ikenna Okonkwo, Blueprint: Cyril Ogar, Aljazirah Nigeria Newspapers; Joel Ajayi, The Gleamer News; Helen Ijoja, Radio House; Rosy Mike, Kiss FM Abuja; Nkeiruka Arinze, Raypower FM; Oche Otene, Vision FM Abuja; Isah Bello, Belcom Media; and Amadi Idahosa, Daybreak.
In the course of deliberation, participants at the town hall meeting noted the following:
– Federal Government received over N95 billion in COVID-19 donations.
– MDAs allegedly wasted or mismanaged over N3 billion.
– Only 20% of MDAs uploaded their Covid-19 procurement details on NOCOPO platform.
– Prices of Personal Protective Equipment were outrageously inflated by government MDAs during COVID – 19 emergency procurement.
– Federal Ministry of Health’s claim of spending N37.06 million on 1800 pieces of face masks. Which means each face mask cost about N25,000.
– National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) purchased thermometers at about N84,000 each against N25,000 sold at open market at the time of the investigation.
– Participants questioned the rationale behind buying of a jeep at N49million during COVID-19 Pandemic by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC).
– Information on Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) was altered soon after the publication of investigative reports indicting MDAs of corruption.
– Federal Government unwilling to release report of expenditures made during COVID-19 pandemic.
– Most MDAs failed to respond to FOI requests.
– Federal government unwillingness to sanction MDAs who failed to comply with
Procurement act encouraging impunity in the system.
– State Governments were reluctant to provide COVID-19 procurement information, declining to respond to FOI requests under the cover that the Federal law is not binding on the states
– Tackling COVID – 19 expenditures more difficult in states.
– Corruption impacting negatively on image of the nation.
– ICPC, EFCC should lead anti-corruption war by example by uploading their COVID-19 procurement information on NOCOPO platform.
– Federal Government should have involved CSOs more in the sharing of COVID-19 palliatives to citizens.
– Citizens MUST continue asking question and holding leaders accountable.
– Public contracting should be made open and level playing field created for companies during contract bidding.
– Nigeria needs stronger anti-corruption institutions.
– Federal Government should be sincere in tackling corruption.
– Passage of Federal Audit Bill will strengthen the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in taking punitive action against corrupt MDAs.
– Allocation of MDAs indicted by Office of the Accountant General should be stopped to serve as a deterrent.
– Lack sanction on MDAs indicted by Auditor General’s report breeding corruption in the system.
– Bill to empower Auditor General of the Federation will help in fighting against corruption in MDAs
– By naming and shaming corrupt officials, MDAs will drastically reduce corruption in public service.
– Citizens must get involve in governance and be at the forefront of holding the public office holders accountable.
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