- BudgIT and Connected Development (CODE) have again, into a partnership to track COVID intervention funds in 10 African countries.
- This is the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project, which promotes accountability and transparency in the handling of the funds
- This time, two other countries (Zimbabwe and Senegal) are joining the project and there will also be a focus on vaccine procurement
FCT, Abuja - Two prominent Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in Africa, Connected Development and BudgIT, have launched the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability in Africa Project (CTAP).
CTAP, an initiative that seeks to stimulate public conversation around ensuring proper accountability and transparency of funding and finances donated to COVID-19, also advocates for improved healthcare funding.
The project will also address the issues related to vaccine deployment and equitable distribution across focus countries.
Speaking at the launch of the project on Wednesday, February 16 in Abuja, CODE's Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Hamzat Lawal, said that CTAP will also counter misinformation and disinformation around vaccine hesitancy in Africa.
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He said the move became necessary because a lot of people in the continent have stayed away from vaccines due to fake news.
Noting that the first phase of the project was successful, Mallam Lawal said the second phase of the project would advocate for improved healthcare funding and address the issues related to vaccine deployment and equitable distribution across focus countries.
“The CTAP is a game-changer. When COVID-19 first hit the world, Africa was not ready let alone the world, with CTAP, we helped to set a framework where government, civil society, the media, and citizens engage under the framework of the open government partnership.
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“Today, CODE in partnership with BudgIT and collaborations with Global Integrity and partners is launching the CTAP phase two and now expanding to 10 African countries, including Nigeria.
“We will also facilitate dialogue sessions between 36 CSOs and the government to create opportunities for engagement between both parties on improved funding and health sector accountability.”
On his part, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo, Country Director, BudgIT, said that the COVID-19 Africa platform created during phase one of the project would be enhanced to also collect information data about healthcare accountability and healthcare data across the countries of implementation.
Okeowo said the group was also looking at mobilising about 1.7million citizens digitally to be able to engage their governments to demand for health sector accountability.
He added that CSOs plan to engage 850,000 citizens who could not access information digitally using established and existing channels to carry out grassroots sensitisation.
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“What we are doing is not to take the place of government, it is to bridge the gap, it is to support the overall agenda of government for improved governance.’’
How the CODE, BudgIT partnership started in 2020
In November 2020, Legit.ng had reported on how BudgIT and CODE commenced their partnership to ensure the initiative sees the light of day.
To ensure the success of the first phase, both organisations leveraged their Tracka and Follow The Money platforms to boost the integrity of the project.
The initiative was also used as an opportunity to promote collaboration and learning among local partners so they can be more effective and share lessons about accessing data, mobilising citizens, and engaging governments.
COVID-19 funds: Group asks National Assembly to probe CBN governor Godwin Emefiele
Meanwhile, a group has called on the National Assembly to launch an investigation into the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led by Godwin Emefiele.
The youth-based organisation, Patriotic Front of Nigeria, said an investigation should be launched on cases of alleged financial misappropriation against the CBN governor as a matter of urgent public importance.
In a statement released on Monday, February 14, the group alleged that many of the CBN intervention funds mapped out for COVID-19 relief and support were diverted.