COVID 19 DONATIONS: WHERE HAVE ALL THE MONEY GONE?
Over $55million has been donated so far to the Nigerian Government by agencies and businesses in the private sector since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The figure stands to place Nigeria as one with the most private sector donations amongst many African countries.
When asked what the motivation for their donation, one of the donors stated thus, "we want to give back to the society" but evidence shows that "giving back" to the society" through the Nigerian government is a fruitless venture.
The Nigerian government claims to have issued cash and food relief to over eight million households tagged, "the poorest of the poor." These claims have been largely unverifiable. If ever true, the figure represents only ten percent (10%) of the 98 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty who are in acute hunger situations due to the lockdown.
The government also claims that her citizens will benefit through the channelling of these resources to the health sector to strengthen the fight against the pandemic, but the mere fact that only approximately twenty thousand COVID-19 tests have been done in a nation of over two hundred million people is a big sign of misappropriation.
The country is littered with under equipped hospitals, does not see the need to continue the disinfection of public places, cannot provide face masks for its citizens and has some of the most uninhabitable and substandard isolation centres. There is also little effort to adequately enlighten citizens on the dangers of the virus and this is seen in the mass deaths (attributed to COVID-19), recorded in the nation's northern region especially Kano.
For the private sector, it is now clear how well over $55million has been put to use so far in Nigeria. Whilst in South Africa, over 110,000 tests have been conducted single handedly by the private sector and in Madagascar, the governments support for an indigenous potential cure for COVID-19 has birthed a new exportable enterprise. Nigeria, despite the availability of $55million, it still has no concrete plan to develop her own effective antidote.
The Nigerian private sector must now know that its corporate social responsibility in times like these ought not to be a front for publicity stunts, drawing applause from the masses without impacting them positively only to donate to one big cauldron of ineffectiveness and corruption. No company ought to donate to the government even at the expense of its employee's welfare and job security.
Taking a cue from many good spirited individuals and firms who have donated and ensured their donations go to the very grassroots, it is important to note that solutions and donations that directly affect the people remain the ultimate in Nigeria while we earnestly wonder where all that money went.
Central Bank of Nigeria Federal Ministry of Finance – Nigeria Minister's Office, Ministry of Planning and Finance Nigerian Presidency President muhammadu buhari Lai Mohammed Femi Adesina Garba Shehu Lauretta Onochie Bank of Industry Nigeria Covid-19 News World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria Center for Disease Control Page