The Nigerian government disbursed N35.74 billion from the COVID-19 Intervention Fund to 37 of its 55 hospitals at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, The ICIR exclusively reports.

The funds were distributed to all federal government hospitals, with the exception of Federal Teaching Hospitals.

This ICIR exclusively reported in July how the government distributed N22.58 billion from the fund to 21 Federal Teaching Hospitals under the Federal Ministry of Health.

The capital release to the 37 hospitals differs from the N83.31 billion made by the government to the Health Ministry, its agencies, all hospitals, and other institutions under the ministry that year.

The disbursement details of the COVID-19 Intervention Fund to the health facilities were made available to The ICIR by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

A breakdown of the allocation shows that the Federal Medical Centres in Asaba (Delta), Gusau (Zamfara), and Calabar (Cross River) received the largest allocations from the fund, each receiving N1.35 billion.

Enugu (Enugu), Kaduna (Kaduna), Maiduguri (Borno), Sokoto (Sokoto), Yaba (Lagos), Abeokuta (Ogun), and Benin City (Edo) Neuro-Psychiatric Hospitals received N1.078 billion.

N1.078 billion was given to Kano and Enugu National Orthopaedic Hospitals.

Federal Medical Centres were paid N1.078 billion each in Umuahia (Abia), Owo (Ondo), Abeokuta (Ogun), Owerri (Imo), Makurdi (Benue), Katsina (Katsina), Nguru (Yobe), Bida (Niger), Adamawa (Yola), Lokoja (Kogi), Azare (Bauchi), Birni-Kebb

However, the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja, received N1.130 billion, while the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi, Nasarawa State, received N949.23 billion.

Six other facilities, namely the Bauchi, Abakaliki, Katsina, and Lagos National Obstetric Fistula Centres, the National Eye Centre, and the National Ear Centre, both in Kaduna, received N280 million each.

The Intervention Fund for COVID-19

Individuals and corporations donated to the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to support the country’s effort to contain the pandemic by 2020.

When it filed this report on August 10, CACOVID collaborated with the Federal Government, the NCDC, and the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the scourge, which had killed over six million people globally and over 3,000 in Nigeria.

According to information on the CACOVID website, the organization donated nearly N40 billion to support the nation’s shattered health-care system.

As of December 2020, the country had spent N38.59 billion from the fund.

In contrast to the usual bureaucracy that makes procurement processes stringent, the government allowed the fund’s recipients’ ministries and hospitals to engage in emergency procurements, allowing the country to quickly contain the pandemic.

The fund was distributed to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the NCDC, and the Federal Ministries of Health, Water Resources, and the Interior.

The money was distributed by the government to each hospital for six purposes:

1-Purchase of a molecular laboratory for N13.241 billion across all 37 facilities.
2-Equipping a 10-bed intensive care unit costs N6.959 billion across all hospitals.
Isolation treatment center – N3.100 billion spread across hospitals

3-Personal protective equipment totals N4.642 billion across all facilities.

4-Installation of oxygen plants in hospitals – N4.104 billion

5-Repairs to the oxygen and intensive care units cost N3.697 billion across all facilities.

According to the ICIR, the government spent N280 million on the procurement of a molecular laboratory at the National Obstetric Fistula Centres in Bauchi, Abakaliki, and Katsina, the National Eye and Ear Centres in Kaduna, and the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Lagos.

How hospitals violated procurement policies

According to the ICIR findings, many hospitals entered insufficient information about the funds they received and how they spent them into the government’s procurement website.

In June, THE ICIR published a report detailing how the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) failed to enter a dime into the website but hurriedly logged in incorrect data after being contacted during an investigation.

Many of the above-mentioned hospitals, including all Neuro-Psychiatric Hospitals, National Obstetric Fistula Centres, National Eye Centres, and National Ear Centres, failed to submit any information to the procurement website.

Federal Medical Centres in Abeokuta, Makurdi, Gusau, and Yola submitted their procurement information. However, the data they recorded was insufficient.

Failure to upload the details, also known as the procurement plan, violates government regulations and undermines the government’s transparency initiatives for governance.

The details include the amount received by the procuring hospital, what the hospital purchased with the money, the contractor(s) who made the procurement(s), the date the hospital took delivery of the items, and other ways the money was spent.

The Nigerian government, through the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), created a website – the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) – where all government-run institutions enter the details of their procurements in order to achieve the National Action Plan of the Open Government Partnership.

Despite the BPP’s threat that the government would not pay for any project not included in the procuring entity’s procurement plan, the hospitals made their purchases by skirting regulations.

The ICIR’s current inquiries into COVID-19 Intervention Fund expenditures

The ICIR has been looking into some of the funded institutions since 2020.

The ICIR released a report in August 2020 detailing how NCDC spent N202 million on six items without having a procurement plan.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) was exposed by The ICIR in November 2021 for keeping secret information about how it awarded 15 contracts to a single company.

The Federal Medical Centers in Jalingo and Makurdi, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), and the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola have all reported their purchases using the COVID-19 fund, according to the ICIR. The reports can be found, respectively, here, here, here, and here.

Similar reports have been made about the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, Federal Medical Center Abeokuta, and Federal Medical Center Owerri. Reports for each of the three facilities can be found here, here, and here.

Overview of According to the ICIR’s most recent investigations into the fund’s use by the hospitals, the tools purchased either didn’t have enough consultants to manage them because the professionals were leaving in droves in search of better opportunities or the tools purchased were rife with violations depending on where the procurement was made.

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