Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Clement Agba has disclosed that Nigeria received $26.942 billion development assistance funds from international donors between 2015 and 2020.
The disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners on Donor Funds Receipts, Transfers and Disbursement to Government Agencies, Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations.
He said the amount comprises $2.339 billion received in 2015, $1.150 billion in 2016, $774.933 million in 2017, $22.016 billion in 2018, $655.642 million in 2019 and $5.639 million in 2020.
Agba said these donations came from the European Development Fund (EDF); United Nations Development Systems (UNDS); China through the bilateral agreement between the Government of Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China signed since1972; Japan activities in Nigeria via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); Department for International Development (DFID); United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
While saying his ministry does not receive donor funds, cannot transfer or disburse what is not received, the minister said “Nigeria does not currently qualify for budget support because it is not classified as very poor but as a lower middle income country that is only qualified for projects/programmes support.
“The implication of this is that donors do not give us the funds for management, rather donors’ work with the sectoral stakeholders to fund the project directly after identifying the needs by the MDAs/states in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. For the purpose of clarification, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is responsible for coordinating Nigeria’s multilateral and bilateral economic cooperation including development Aid and Technical Assistance Programmes by signing of cooperation agreements (after obtaining power of attorney from Ministry of Foreign Affairs), facilitating the implementation of programmes and projects as well as monitoring and evaluation.
“In carrying out these functions, the role of the ministry is to coordinate the bilateral and multilateral institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), as well as civil society organizations (CSOs).
“Interventions in these identified areas are done directly in collaboration
with the relevant ministries, department and agencies (MDAS) as well as states and local government areas through their implementing agencies. In view of the above, procurement is carried out directly by the donors. In order to have a bird’s eye view of the grants/aid given by donors, the ministry maintains a Development Assistance Database (DAD). The DAB is a web-based dashboard that tracks spending by the international development partners, (INGOs), etc. Donors are expected to upload and spend across sectors to the DAB.”
…To deploy project-tracking app
The minister also announced plan by the federal government to unveil a project-tracking app with a view to allowing citizens and other stakeholders independently monitor and report progress of projects implementation as captured in the budget.
While responding to questions on how implementation of projects from such funds undergoes Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Agba said: “The Web App, which we are going to deploy soon will make Nigerians do the monitoring themselves. The exact location of any project can be determined. So, if for instance, any MDA claims to have constructed a road and the road is not in existence, Nigerians will be able to tell us.”
To guard against frivolous reporting however, the minister stated that the app would come with full geo-referencing capabilities, so that if a report is sent, it could be immediately detected if the said project is not in existence.
“When we are done with the Web App, there will be greater transparency,” he submitted.
In his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Hon. Idris Kabiru, stated that the House mandated the panel to investigate the funds flowing into the North-east from donor agencies and the manner of utilisation in the fight against insurgency in the area.
He said the committee received several petitions, alleging misappropriation, misuse and diversion of donor funds, as well as falsification of performance reports for the purpose of obtaining more funds from donor agencies/organisations.
“Also in line with its mandate, the committee received a referral from the House of Representatives mandating it to investigate the operations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so as to ascertain their sources of funding, their bases of operations and locations. This was after it had deliberated on a motion titled ‘Need for Special Intervention in the Protracted Situation in the Country’.
“It was in the light of the foregoing that we wrote you two letters, to brief the committee on the following: How the Department of International Corporation has been carrying out its responsibilities of managing multilateral and bilateral economic cooperation including development aid and technical assistance programmes.
”Donor funds received by government agencies and non-govemmental organizations (NGOs) from 2015 to date; and the operations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly those operating in the North-east, so as to ascertain their sources of funding, their bases of operations and their locations,” he said.
Responding to Kabiru’s query on some NGOs without clear-cut interest, Agba said: “For the donor agencies who come to register, we seek to know their sources of funds, because as a country, we do not want to receive funds from terrorism, so the ministry usually approaches the EFCC or the National Security Adviser (NSA) for advice.
“Just recently, we have to deregister some of the NGOs operating in the North east part of the country, and it was based on advice of the NSA.”