COVID-19 donations: Buhari gives fresh orders

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the opening of five COVID-19 Donor Accounts.

They form part of the existing Treasury Single Account (TSA) arrangement in five commercial banks.

The financial institutions are Access Bank, First Bank Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank.

The development was revealed in a statement on Tuesday by Henshaw Ogubike, Director of Information, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

He explained that the framework covered all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against COVID-19, including the Fiscal Stimulus Package as well as all donations by corporate bodies and individuals.

It also covers donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The TSA Sub-Account in commercial banks are to be used for the purposes of receiving COVID-19 donations only. On no account shall any other fund of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) be deposited into the accounts or any other account in commercial banks. All other government accounts are to be maintained at the CBN in line with the Presidential directive on TSA, the TSA Guidelines and related extant Circulars.

“And all accounts with commercial banks are to be linked with the TSA at CBN to provide a single consolidated view of aggregate government cash balances. This will provide a single window for real time access to details of receipts and payments across all commercial bank accounts. In the absence of a ready tool to accomplish this requirement, the current CBN Payment gateway may be deployed,” the statement read.

All collections into the commercial bank accounts will be moved into the Federal Government’s Sub-Recurrent Account with the CBN.

Failure to sweep all balances within 24 hours would be deemed a violation of the Presidential directive on TSA and would attract sanctions.

Furthermore, the disbursements of all COVID-19 Fund including those being collected directly by CBN and those domiciled with commercial banks shall be through appropriation.

“Funds are to be appropriated directly to participating MDA and spending units like the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, among others rather than to an intermediary agency like the Presidential Task Force (PTF). Administrative cost of the PTF shall be appropriated separately to the PTF Secretariat. Respective spending units and their Accounting Officers would take full responsibility for funds appropriated to them and likely bottlenecks at the PTF are eliminated,” he said.

The government said this will bind all spending units to the Appropriation Act and provide the greatest measure of credibility and transparency to the management of the donation.