The distribution of the N5 billion relief palliative approved by the Nigerian Government to state governments has been the subject of a request for openness and accountability from BudgIT, a civic-tech initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s public finances.
This was mentioned by the organisation in a statement that was made available to newsmen.
Reactions have been spurred by the recent economic crisis and the nation’s rising cost of living, particularly for basic necessities like food.
To lessen the impact of the termination of the gasoline subsidy, the Federal Government provided N5 billion as palliatives for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Babagana Zulum, the governor of Borno State, claims that 52% of the monies will be distributed as grants to the state governments, while the remaining 48% will be lent out.
Although this action is intended to lessen the effects of the subsidy elimination, BudgIT stated that there are issues with the way the palliatives will be distributed throughout 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 fertilisers. 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 organisation said.
The problem of subnational transparency is an important consideration, according to the statement made by Nancy Odimegwu, the organisation’s communications associate.
It was noted that while these money are distributed to the states, it is critical that each state government uphold the values of accountability and transparency.
The group stated that residents have a right to know how the N5 billion monies will be used in their individual states, and that establishing public trust requires both a clear plan and information about how these resources will be used.
Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, the acting head of BudgIT’s Open Government and Institutional Partnership, addressed this issue by citing videos that have been making the rounds on social media and depicting people collecting medications like beggars in a disrespectful manner.
“Acts like this will not establish who received what, thereby defeating the purpose of transparency and accountability,” he said.
In order to guarantee equitable access and accountability, BudgIT encouraged the federal and state authorities to publish and make widely known a detailed sharing formula and breakdown of how the palliatives will be distributed among residents.
The group also urged the government to increase transparency by disclosing its plans for using and allocating the allocated monies and resources.