We delivered all COVID-19 palliatives to states, FCT, except Rivers ― Minister

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq on Tuesday debunked claims in some quarters that the Federal Government hoarded COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution during the pandemic.

Recall that many warehouses housing foods, grains and other essential items were recently looted across the country.

Hajia Farouq who made the clarification in Abuja at a budget defence meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Humanitarian Affairs insisted that her Ministry distributed all palliatives to all the states, except Rivers.

She said: “We have distributed all palliatives to all the states. Customs, strategic grains all distributed. We handed over to all the states governors and FCT except Rivers.”

She also stated that at no point was she given cash to distribute as palliatives, adding that what was given as cash was from an existing programme.

“I was not given cash, the cash we gave is from an existing programme. We have not distributed cash in the name of palliatives. Conditional Cash Transfer programme during COVID-19 was as approved by the President and not a mandate of my ministry,” she reiterated

On 2020 budget performance, she explained that the sum of N4,034,459,460 allocated to the ministry and was revised downward to N3,125,054,083 representing a reduction of 22.54%.

“This revised budget comprises a total recurrent expenditure of N342,087,385 and a total capital allocation of N2,782,966,698,” she said.

According to her, the ministry was also allocated the sum of N551,416,000 for COVID-19 interventions as contained in the 2020 Appropriation (Repeal and Enactment) Act. However, this is from the existing budgetary allocation in the ministry’s 2020 budget.

On budget releases, she said the sum of N227,432,126.48 was released for overhead expenditure while an additional sum of N692,000,000 was received as take-off grant for the ministry in 2020, adding that the sum of N990,067,349 was also released for capital expenditure for the period under review.

The minister observed that the total sum of N134,453,735.25 representing 59.12% of the budget was utilised from the fund released.

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