COVID-19: Group tasks CSOs to ensure accountability of $114.28m World Bank grant

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Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to ensure accountability for the US$114.28 million World Bank credit and grant given to the country.

Dr Aminu Magashi, Coordinator, AHBN, made the call on Thursday in Abuja, while speaking on Nigeria COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response programme, under the theme: ‘To enhance accountability and transparency.’

Magashi recalled that US$114.28 million credit and grant was given to Nigeria by the World Bank for its COVID-19 preparedness and strategic response programme.

“This was financed by the WB through two sources; namely the International Development Agency (IDA/WB) credit at US$100 million, and available through the Fast-Track COVID-19 Facility (FCTF).

“This is under the crisis response window and Nigeria’s IDA19 allocation; and through a WB grant financing at US$14.28 million, available through the Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) Facility.

“The project’s intervention, which is mostly at the state and local government levels, was initiated due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 in Nigeria. It has a four-year lifespan, which began in 2020 and to end in 2023.

“The funds have been allocated to intervene in emergency COVID-19 response by allotting US$14.28 million for federal support and procurement for COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response.

“US$90.00 million for Direct Support to States for COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response, while US$10.00 million was dedicated to the management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation.

“The US$10.00 million includes US$5.00 million for project management and coordination and US$5.00 million for monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

Magashi noted that the disbursement of the funds began in 2021 with Nigeria receiving US$70.00 million as the first tranche, adding that the country would then access US$42 million in 2022 and US$2.28 million in 2023.

He recalled that the objectives of the strategic preparedness and response programme were to prevent, detect and respond to the threats posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.

Others are to prevent, detect, and respond to the threats posed by COVID-19 at the state level; and to strengthen public health systems’ preparedness and maintain essential health and nutrition services.

“The programme, which will be implemented by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is targeted at the establishment of Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) and the activation of Incident Management Systems (IMS) for COVID-19.

“The establishment of, at least, three isolation/treatment/community support centres; at least one state-owned laboratory with capacity to perform diagnosis of COVID-19, according to national guidelines.

“The programme also seeks the identification, monitoring and treatment of diagnosed/confirmed cases at the designated isolation or treatment centres,” he explained.

Magashi added that the AHBN was providing technical support to country-level accountability mechanisms such as the COVID-19 Finances Accountability Working Group in Nigeria, to ensure transparency in the implementation of the World Bank project.