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BudgIT calls for complete transparency in the allocation of the N5 billion palliative funds.

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BudgIT, a civic-tech organization focused on promoting transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s public finances, has emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in the allocation of the N5 billion relief fund sanctioned by the Nigerian Federal Government for state governments.

This call was expressed through an official statement released to NewsNGR, where BudgIT highlighted the importance of openness in the distribution process.

Given the prevailing economic challenges and the rising cost of essential goods, which has significantly impacted the lives of citizens across the nation, the Federal Government responded by allocating N5 billion as relief assistance to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This financial aid aims to mitigate the consequences of removing the petrol subsidy.

As per details provided by Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, 52% of the allocated funds will be offered as grants to the state governments, while the remaining 48% will be disbursed as loans.

Major Concerns

BudgIT noted that while this move is to alleviate the effect of the subsidy removal, there are concerns regarding the distribution mechanism for the palliatives across the 36 states.

  • “In addition to the N5 billion relief fund, the federal government released five trucks of rice to each of the 36 state governors.
  • Meanwhile, the state governors will also procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers. What is worrisome is the absence of a detailed guideline on how the state governments will distribute these resources. 
  • There are mixed reactions nationwide over the potential mismanagement or unequal distribution of these palliatives. Without a comprehensive framework, the risk of these resources not reaching the most vulnerable of society is high,” the organization said.

Subnational transparency

The statement signed by Nancy Odimegwu, the organization’s Communications Associate noted that the issue of subnational transparency is a critical factor.

It stated that as these funds are disbursed to the states, it becomes paramount for each state government to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability.

The organization noted that citizens have the right to know how the N5 billion funds will be utilized within their respective states adding that a clear plan and communication on how these resources will be used are vital in building public trust.

Speaking on this, the Acting Head of Open Government and Institutional Partnership, BudgIT, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, referenced videos making the rounds on social media showing citizens receiving palliatives like beggars amid zero decorum.

  • “Acts like this will not establish who received what, thereby defeating the purpose of transparency and accountability,” he said.

BudgIT urged the federal and state authorities to provide and publicize a comprehensive sharing formula and breakdown of how the palliatives will be shared among citizens to ensure equitable access and accountability.

The organization also called on the government to enhance transparency by openly communicating its strategies for utilizing and distributing the funds and resources allocated.

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