Of the N209.61 billion COVID-19 allocation made to Enugu, Sokoto, Delta and Kaduna states, only N14.73 billion was used by the states, according to investigations made by transparency and accountability civil society organisations, BudgIT and Follow The Money International.
They disclosed that the sum of N50.13bn was set aside for COVID-19 related spendings in Delta State in the 2020 budget but only N4.92bn was disbursed, creating a shortfall of N41.21bn.
Representative of Follow The Money International, Pearl Utuk, submitted the findings at a press conference coordinated by BudgIT in Abuja Yesterday.
She said: “An allocation of N50.13bn was earmarked for COVID-19 related spending in Delta State 2020 budget, N4.92bn was expended, creating a shortfall of N41.21bn.
“In the same light, the Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the agency saddled with the responsibility of administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the state, got zero out of the N1.45bn allocated to it for capital spending in 2020, according to the 2020 Financial Statement of the Office of the Accountant General of Enugu State.
“Sokoto received the sum of N1.17bn as COVID-19 donations from different sources and allocated N525.47m to COVID-19 related initiatives.
“In the same light, Kaduna State spent just N9.29bn out of its N156.86bn COVID-19 budget, with N6.53bn spent on health and N171.54 on social protection.
“It was also discovered that funds were mismanaged and distribution of palliatives was largely hijacked by politicians for their party supporters rather than the vulnerable members of the society. This led to the vandalization of COVID-19 palliatives warehouses in the various states.
“On vaccine distribution, the civil society organisations observed that most Primary Health Care Centres responsible for the administration of the vaccine lacked required amenities and most health workers decried poor remuneration and inadequate personal protective equipment.”
In the view of its observations, BudgIT urged state governments to set up a dedicated fund for epidemic preparedness and health security as well as stipulated guidelines for gaining access to such funds.
“State governments should institute mechanisms to incentivise vaccine uptake by citizens. State governments should intensify collaboration with CSOs to improve the sensitization on COVID-19 acceptance.
“In the aftermath of the pandemic, state governments should improve investments in healthcare infrastructure to enhance the capacity of the states to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.”