In the aftermath of last week’s nationwide looting of warehouses of food items meant for distribution to the vulnerable poor in each state of the federation and Abuja, the Private Sector Coalition Against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, says it will “in due course,” provide the full delivery schedule and flag-off dates by each state.
A statement by Osita Nwanisobi for the coalition on Monday said as earlier promised, its external auditors, KPMG Professional Services, are at the verge of completing the audit of all contributions from our donors, as well as a listing of all medical and food items procured with these funds.”
CACOVID promised to share the external audit reports of its spending, along with a full report of its activities, including delivery and planned flag-off dates of donations to Nigerians.
While official flag-off and handover of the palliatives had taken place in 28 states and the FCT, various state governments, it said the items have been distributed at various paces, following which some have confirmed completion of their distribution as of Monday, October 26, 2020. Some others, it noted, were in the process of commencing their own distribution exercises before the looting occurred, thereby depriving some intended beneficiaries the opportunity to partake of the good intentions of CACOVID.
It expressed worry that even states that had concluded the distribution of their allocations are seeing their warehouses and other premises being raided, stressed that not every warehouse containing palliatives is related to CACOVID donation, “given that the states themselves, the Federal Government and other organizations have also made donations.”
The coalition therefore called for calm to allow state governments proceed peacefully with their palliatives distribution, assuring that the various governments will keep its citizens abreast of the process for the sake of transparency, accountability and equity.
Nwanisobi recalled that over the past few months, the coalition worked with state governors, through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the FCT Minister to procure, deliver ad distribute these food relief items to almost two million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It blamed the slow pace and timing of the orders and deliveries on the sheer scale, following which distribution was staggered, with states classified into three phases.
The coalition said it “decided to procure the food directly from the manufacturers, to avoid a distortion of prices in the market.
“The food package was designed such that each of the nearly two million vulnerable families received 10kg bag of rice, a 5kg bag of garri/maize flour/semolina, one carton of pasta, two cartons of noodles, 5kg of sugar and 1kg of salt.
“Unfortunately, the very large size of the order, and the production cycle required to meet the demand, caused delay in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence the resultant delya in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governments”
Given that the products had to be manufactured and processed, Nwasinobi said the first deliveries could not be made until June, assuring that a sizeable portion of the items had been delivered but are yet to be distributed by the governors.
Prior to these events, the statement said CACOVID had worked with the state governments to determine the number of households per state, with each state and the FCT required to provide clean and secure warehousing for the food; compose state and local government committees. Members of the committees were drawn from civil society groups, religious organizations, LGA chairpersons, ward leaders, media representatives, security services, and CACOVID representatives.
State governments were also to provide clear guidelines for equitable distribution f the food among the neediest, even as the coalition worked with them, utilizing a combination of its protocols and existing structures and processes in each domain to ensure the items reach the intended beneficiaries.
Independent monitoring teams were appointed by CACOVID to ensure that the items would be delivered as intended.
Investdata News recalls that as of April 28, 2020, the coalition had pooled a total N27,160,109,011.94, the bulk of which came from Aliko Dangote, (N2bn); while Nibn each were donated by Abdul Samad Rabiu (BUA Group); Segun Agbaje (Guaranty Trust Bank); Tony Elumelu (United Bank for Africa Plc); Oba Otudeko (First Bank of Nigeria Limited); Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank Plc); Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank Plc); and Femi Otedola of Amperion Power Distribution.